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China at forefront of digital world, says Israeli startup pioneer

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-01-25 11:29
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A customer has her face scanned by a facial recognition system to pay for her purchase at a store in the century-old neighboring streets, Wuma Street and Chan Street, in Wenzhou city, East China's Zhejiang province, on Jan 16, 2019. [Photo/IC]

DAVOS - Yossi Vardi, known as the godfather of Israel's hi-tech industry, has said that China is at the forefront of the digital world today and that he is optimistic about China's role in this field.

Vardi launched Israel's first software company in 1969, and has founded and helped build over 80 high-tech companies in a variety of fields over the past five decades.

"China is at the forefront of cutting-edge technologies, especially artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies and also the implementation of digital technologies in all walks of life, in transportation, machines, robotics and everything," Vardi, chairman of International Technologies, told Xinhua during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting here on Wednesday.

He noted the rapidly growing number of engineers China has trained over the past ten years. "I am very optimistic about the role of China in this field. We see it happening everyday," he said.

"Technology is as good or as bad as the hand which holds it. You know you can take a knife, you can use a knife to harm other people, you can use a knife to engrave beautiful pictures, do really wonderful works of art. So it's not the issue of technology, it is the issue of intention," he said.

He said people should be given enough leeway to use their imagination and come up with innovative solutions -- but dangerous things should be restricted.

Vardi attended an event aimed at promoting the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to the world on Wednesday on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting. He said Guangzhou, as a historically important gateway of China to the rest of the world, has opened up more and will embrace more international partnerships.

As a major city in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay area, Guangzhou boasts of a rising number of Fortune 500 companies as well as growing traffic at the airport. "Guangzhou's role as an important hub has become more and more important each year," he said.

Chen Zhiying, vice mayor of Guangzhou, said the city will work to accelerate the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay area, participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, and build a more open and innovative city to offer more opportunities to the world.

The WEF annual meeting runs from Tuesday to Friday, themed "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution."

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