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What's the driving force behind China's 31t yuan digital economy

China Plus | Updated: 2019-04-04 11:14
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A 5G-tech promotion stand at the recent China International Import Expo in Shanghai. [Photo by Jin Rong/For China Daily]

Statistics show the scale of China's digital economy reached 31 trillion yuan, or $4.6 trillion, by the end of last year.

This fast-growing digital economy accounts for one-third of the national GDP.

Government officials say China's digitalization development is the driving force behind these figures.

Chinese cyberspace administration deputy chief Yang Xiaowei says China's digitalization process has undergone robust development, which is reflected in areas such as infrastructure construction, digital economy and e-government.

"By the end of last year, China's total length of optical cables reached over 43.5 million kilometers, and the number of users of 4G networks hit 1.17 billion. We have made breakthroughs in research of 5G technology, and sped up the deployment of IPv6 network. Meantime the initial global service of BeiDou 3 satellite system is in place. It is now available to many regions including the countries along the Belt and Road route," Yang says.

Wang Xinzhe, chief economist with the Chinese Industry and Information Technology Ministry, says the digitalization of industry is a mirror to China's fast paced development in digital economy.

He says leading Chinese companies in different industries have sped up the layout of their industrial internet, which is taking effect in boosting their production.

"It's estimated that there are an average 590 thousand pieces of equipment connected to an internet platform that belongs to key industrial enterprises. The average number of the affiliated industrial apps and users exceeds 1500 and 500 thousand respectively. In 2018 alone, the businesses on the platform made an average profit of 500 million yuan. With industrial internet, some enterprises lowered their research cost by over 30 percent, meanwhile raise the production efficiency by over 10 percent," Wang introduces.

China's digitalization development has also had an impact internationally.

The China-initiated cooperative plans in digital economy among G20 and Belt and Road countries have been implemented.

Fruitful results are seen in information infrastructure construction and sharing, as well as cross country e-government systems.

Looking into the future, Yang Xiaowei says China's task to promote digitalization still faces challenges and there is more to be done in the process.

"We still need to make breakthroughs in core technology research, fix our weaknesses, enhance our innovation capability and detail the development plans for advanced techniques. We should generate more tangible results from innovation, and upgrade our infrastructure into the next generation, so as to strengthen our internet capacity. Also we must speed up the commercial use of 5G and the popularization of IPv6 network, and integrate the development of digital economy and real economy," Yang adds.

Next month China will hold the second summit on digital development in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

It's expected to serve as a platform for issuing China's policies on IT development and for sharing experiences in building a digital China.

Representatives of international organizations, multi-national companies and think-tanks will attend the summit.

Government officials from countries along the Belt and Road will also take part in the event.

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