China plans new base for aviation, space industry in eastern city

BEIJING, April 26 (Reuters) - China’s eastern city of Suzhou will become a new base for the space and aviation industry with the revenues of more than 500 companies in the industry expected to reach 60 billion yuan ($9.3 billion) there by 2023, state-backed Suzhou Daily said on Monday.

Suzhou, in the eastern province of Jiangsu and not far from Shanghai, will provide subsidies or rewards ranging from 3 million yuan to 50 million yuan to companies and researchers to promote the development of big aircraft, aviation intelligence equipment and the space sector, Suzhou Daily said.

In the next decade, China envisions massive constellations of commercial satellites that can offer services ranging from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments.

To meet the demand for satellite launches, China will have to build bigger rockets that can carry more satellites or build more launch sites, or both. China currently has four launch sites - three inland and one on the southern island of Hainan.

Earlier this month, the government said it was planning a new commercial space base in Hainan and began construction of its fifth rocket launch site in the eastern port city of Ningbo in Zhejiang province. ($1 = 6.4860 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Hugh Lawson)