China Plans First Commercial Rocket-Launch Company, Xinhua Says

China plans to set up a commercial rocket-launch company in view of the market’s potential, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

China Sanjiang Space Group Co. is preparing to enter the commercial-rocket business with a launch slated for 2017, Xinhua reported Tuesday, citing the company’s chief engineer Hu Shengyun. Some Internet companies have expressed interest in collaborating on commercial launches, Hu said.

The Kuaizhou-11, translated as “fast vessel,” rocket is being developed by the Fourth Academy of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corp., a major missile supplier to the People’s Liberation Army, according to China Daily.

China, India and other Asian countries are spending billions of dollars on their space exploration projects. Asian growth is set to increase competition for commercial rocket-launching companies such as Arianespace as countries invest more to develop their own technology to launch satellites and spacecraft.