Business / Industries

New media seen as major social, economic driver

By He Na (China Daily) Updated: 2015-06-27 09:19

New media in China has become an important infrastructure that will drive China's socioeconomic development, said a report released by the country's top think tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

This is the sixth year that the Institute of Journalism and Communication at CASS has produced China's New Media Development Report.

According to the report, released on Wednesday, a series of central government decisions is reinvigorating China through Internet development.

They include the establishment of the central Internet security and informatization leading group and the proposal for the Internet Plus initiative. Under these, China's new media will experience a new phase of development.

"China has become a giant mobile Internet country and microcommunication is becoming mainstream communication. Under the new drive, various kinds of self-media will develop fast, and meanwhile, the pace at which traditional media looks for new models and integration with new media will also be accelerated," said Tang Xujun, director of the Institute of Journalism and Communication at CASS.

Data from the report show that by the end of last year, the number of China's Internet users had reached 649 million, which accounts for 21.6 percent of the world's users.

China has the world's largest number of new-media users. As a country equipped with the most active new media industry and apps, China has the biggest potential for developing new media worldwide, the report said.

"The development of new media is already beyond just the function of spreading information nowadays, but is quickly gaining pace to infiltrate into every field of society, including politics, economics, culture and our daily lives," said Li Peilin, deputy head of CASS.

"Strong support from the central government has offered new media a history of developing opportunities. Promoting new media's development has become the new national strategy of the central government in governing the country," he said.

However, Li also pointed out that as a totally new force that is causing revolutionary change in human society, new media has also triggered the problems that come with great change.

"Network information safety, the combination of traditional media and new media, the guiding of public opinion, Internet financial regulation, governance of Internet rumors and many other problems have already arisen to become state matters of great urgency. The solving of these problems is extremely important to China in this key period of transition," he said.

The report also said various levels of government new media platforms have a large amount of "zombie", or inactive, accounts. For example, 57.33 percent of the accounts for short videos for governments' new media platforms have never posted a single comment and have not been updated for a long time.

Tang Xujun said a shortage of research about new media and its related usage and technology is one of the main reasons behind "zombie" accounts.

He suggested that governments' new media platforms should add more public service functions, such as to help the public to solve problems online instead of requiring them to visit offices.

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