Xiaomi to offer first 5G phone in China

[HONG KONG] Ongoing trade tensions with the US and slowing growth have taken a toll on China's economy. Those issues are dominating the National People's Congress (NPC), an annual gathering of the country's most powerful officials that continued Thursday in Beijing.

5G is Chinese tech company Xiaomi Corp's development priority, its chairman Lei Jun says on the NPC's sidelines. The 5G network will become a driver of the country's economic growth, he adds. The phone will be offered in May or June.

His comments come as stock speculators catch on to China's 5G firms, with the optimism bolstering Xiaomi and ZTE Corp. The thinking is that firms tied to next-generation wireless technology are about to get a windfall as carriers put money into infrastructure upgrades, and as the government plans to expand e-payment usage in rural areas - a move that will require greater Web coverage and smartphones.

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