Beijing is said to have a ‘serious and long-term interest’ in developing and bringing to market its homegrown TD-SCDMA (time division synchronous code division multiple access) 3G platform, according to Craig Ehrlich, chairman of the GSM Association. The Chinese authorities are believed to perceive the platform as a key component of the country’s 3G solution, ahead of the possible award of UMTS concessions in the second half of 2004. Only last month the Chongqing Institute of Posts and Telecommunications and China Putian Corp announced plans to jointly set up a production unit for the manufacture of TD-SCDMA handsets, having successfully developed the platform – the first Chinese standard to be adopted by the ITU. The intial batch of phones are scheduled to come off the production line in Chongqing in the first quarter of 2004, with commercial production scheduled for early 2005. A trial network using the new standard will be rolled out to the Jiangbei district of Chongqing.