Beijing: In a bid to break away from the dependence on US-based Global Positioning System, (GPS), China has launched its homegrown Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

Beidou started providing initial positioning, navigation and timing operational services to China and its surrounding areas from Tuesday, a spokesman for the system said.

China was keen to assemble a home grown satellite system of its own to reduce dependence on GPS, specially for its armed forces who apprehend that that the reliance on US systems could be dangerous for the security.

Six more satellites will be launched in 2012 to further improve the Beidou system and expand its service area to cover most parts of the Asia-Pacific region, spokesman Ran Chengqi, who is also director of the management office of the China Satellite Navigation System, told media here.

China began to build the Beidou system in 2000 with a goal of breaking its dependence on the GPS and creating its own global positioning system by 2020.

So far, China has launched 10 satellites for the Beidou system, with the tenth being lifted into orbit earlier this month.

The Beidou system is compatible and interoperable with the world's other major global navigation satellite systems, according to Ran.

Ran encouraged enterprises at home and abroad to join the research and development of application terminals compatible with Beidou, saying a beta version of the system's Interface Control Document (ICD) could be accessed online starting Tuesday.

(Agencies)