The Chinese government has given official approval for the country's own 3G standard, TD-SCDMA.
The Chinese Ministry of Information has declared the standard to be mature and ready for use in the manufacture of handsets, according to reports in the Chinese press.
Testing has been going on using TD-SCDMA for some years, although the end result has been widely regarded as inferior to other 3G standards. However, China has continued to back the homegrown standard, developed by a group of Chinese companies, over foreign alternatives. Using TD-SCDMA means the country's operators will be able to avoid paying billions of pounds of royalties to overseas companies.
The Chinese government is yet to issue any 3G licences, which are expected later this year. China Mobile and an unnamed fixed-line operator are already thought to be likely winners.
Due to the immaturity of TD-SCDMA, it is thought China may well offer licences for alternative flavours of 3G, such as WCDMA or CDMA-2000, alongside its own standard.
With a potentially massive mobile market at stake, a number of US and European companies are attempting to grab a slice of the burgeoning market by backing TD-SCDMA, notably Siemens.