China has opened its own global positioning system to the public. Called BeiDou, the technology promises about the same accuracy as GPS - about 10 meters - but covers only a small section of the world.
There are currently 33 BeiDou satellites in orbit, but only six are active. The system will need 24 active satellites for a global coverage. The Chinese government said that it plans to have 5 geostationary orbit satellites and 30 non-geostationary orbit satellites operational by 2020, including performance enhancing devices.
According to Chinese officials, BeiDou has been developed to "maintain independence and keep the initiative in [China's] hands, keep open, compatible, stable and reliable on technology, offer global service, thereby accelerating the foundation of navigation satellite industrial chain, consummating the sustaining extending and guaranteeing system, expanding the range of application in the country's economic and social sector." Like GPS, BeiDou has been used by the military prior to its opening to the public.
China said that BeiDou currently provide positioning services to "most parts" of the Asia-Pacific region, "including continuous passive positioning, navigation and timing services."