The Standardization Administration of China has created a working group that will establish a national standard for 'electronic tags'–radio frequency identification tags that can be scanned from a distance and are considered to be the key to a far more efficient supply chain than is achievable today.

There is currently no one standard for RFID, although the SAC has indicated that it intends to draft a standard that is compatible with similar technologies, a statement that many RFID companies will be closely monitoring following China's recent demand that Wi-Fi chips sold in the country contain an encryption standard controlled by 11 local companies.

IDC said it expects RFID spending for the U.S. retail supply chain to grow from $91.5 million last year to nearly $1.3 billion in 2008, although there is currently great debate over the moral issues of such a technology–privacy advocates claiming that the radio-tags could allow companies to track individuals. Another controversy is who will make the tags themselves–although giants such as Intel and IBM are very interested in the technology, that is only because they will be able to develop and sell servers and software that manage networks of tags. The RFID tags themselves will only sell for a few cents when volume production begins.


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