The Chinese space economy has big growth potential, yet it still needs some time to adapt to the principles of new space
. So far, Chinese companies have rather focused on improving their reach in the domestic space market as it has a large potential for future expansion and allows them to worry less about competing with foreign entities or facing market restrictions. Although some could argue that the more government-steered space economy of China lives a completely different life than the world’s highly competitive space markets with many already-developed companies, it still paves the road for more technological developments, in a way sort-of similar to how NASA in the 60s didn’t need to directly compete with the USSR on American turf, but rather enjoyed state-backed growth in the US whilst technologically competing with them in space.
The restrictions laid upon exchanging data and working with non-Chinese companies mean that the US-China space situation is more likely a case of an intercontinental competition rather than building up the industry through collaboration with businesses that already have the space expertise. PRC has largely limited other markets’ impact on the domestic space economy as a way to hopefully give it time to grow before having to compete with already well-established companies. This, however, means that as of now larger-scale space cooperation between US & Chinese space businesses is rather unfeasible. Foreign companies don’t currently have much to say in the matter of the Chinese space market, and it’s hard to expect a much different response from the US space economy. China has already built up crucial foundations for the future growth of their space sector and plans to move away from relying on foreign solutions, for instance, by deploying their own space station into orbit, assembling it in part even this year. This will most likely help speed up the development of the domestic space technologies, as well as allow China to have bigger control over what research is carried out, removing the foreign-entity dependency factor from the equation. This means that the US and Chinese markets are currently moving away from each other and heading into a future competition, with no sign of commencing economical space cooperation any soon.
So far, the current trends hint that the Chinese space market might remain locked for foreign companies for years to come, as China prepares to better its capabilities in space without having to rely on foreign businesses. The rapid development of Chinese space technologies, a market that isn’t accessible by US companies, the establishment of the Chinese space station, as well as the ongoing competition between the largest economies in the world, the US and China, all mean that it’s quite likely that the current state of affairs will carry on for quite a bit longer, and extend far into space.