China may have had limited success so far in exporting commercial satellites, but it is investing heavily for the future. The country has two satellite buses in service and has taken export orders for only six, one a replacement for the in-orbit failure of another. Yet it is keenly aware of the foreign commercial market and has three more buses under development, with the aim of offering a product range with launch weights of up to 7 metric tons.
Noting the rising importance of commercial demand within the global space industry, Chinese launcher builder China Academy of Launch Technology (CALT) described the national commercial space strategy at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Beijing in September. Apart from China's need to improve technology, CALT officials emphasized the importance of offering a wide range of services and products, optimizing and packaging them as necessary. Hugely staffed Chinese state organizations often have trouble coordinating activities such as these. Marketing is also a priority, say CALT officials Shan Wenjie, Wang Chafe, Dai Kun and Kang Sibei. That, too, is not a strong point of traditionally defense-oriented government enterprises.