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China’s first commercial quantum network to begin operations next month

Updated: Jul 10,2017 1:47 PM     CGTN

Quantum communication technology is considered as one of the most secure information delivery methods at present. [Photo/VCG]

China’s first commercial quantum communication network, which is expected to provide an ultra-safe communication system, is to be put into use in Jinan, capital of East China’s Shandong province, by the end of next month.

According to the Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology on July 9, the network, connecting Communist Party and government bodies in Jinan, has recently undergone tests, with designers satisfied with its performance, especially in the field of secure communications.

Quantum communication technology uses quantum photons to make sure that nobody can intercept information.

More specifically, two parties can exchange secret messages by sharing an encryption key encoded in the properties of entangled particles. If someone tries to “steal” information, the quantum communication network will change its characteristics to prevent data from being intercepted without alerting the network.

In recent tests, which involved over 50 test programs, the network transmitted data by quantum encryption keys among nearly 200 terminals in the city. It successfully completed the safe information delivery of more than 4,000 keys in just a second, said Zhou Fei, an assistant director of the institute.

In fact, the first large-scale quantum communication test network in China came under construction in 2010 and started operations in 2012.

In 2016, China launched the world’s first quantum satellite from the Jiuquan Space Center in Gansu province, northwest China. It was tasked with testing the coded communications by transmitting information through photons.

Liu Hong, a professor with Shandong University who participated in the test, said tests had shown the network is in a “very ideal” condition at present.

The success of the test is a landmark in the development of quantum communication technology worldwide, paving the way for its commercial use in government and then in finance, energy and other sectors, said Zhou Fei.