China has in recent years outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in the area of next-generation mobile internet technology known as 5G, potentially creating a "tsunami" that will be difficult to catch up with, according to a Deloitte study published Tuesday.
5G would make it possible for people to download films and stream high bandwidth video for technologies including virtual reality. But beyond consumer applications, the tech could support connected infrastructure in cities, including driverless cars. In 2035, 5G is expected to enable $12.3 trillion of global economic output, IHS Markit estimated in a recent report.
So it's no wonder there is a race to dominate the technology. That's become a factor in the current U.S.-China trade war.
For now, it appears China has more money behind its effort.
Since 2015, it has outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in 5G infrastructure, Deloitte's study found. China has built 350,000 new cell sites, while the U.S. has built fewer than 30,000 in the same time-frame. Deloitte's report noted that China plans hundreds of billions of dollars in 5G-related spend.