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China leads the world in embracing the future

By Christos Flokos | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-09-12 10:49

China leads the world in embracing the future

Christos, who comes from Athen, the captical of Greece, poses for a photo on the Great Wall. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

I live in Athens, Greece, near to the city center. Right next to my home there are railway lines, from which quite frequently, trains pass. Not long ago, while waiting at a pedestrian crossing for a train to pass, I saw that it was fully loaded with containers - too many of them to count. On these containers was written, "China Shipping”. They had just arrived at the port of Piraeus and were on their way to other parts of Europe. My mind traveled far, beyond the enormous distance that these goods had traveled, to a land far away. A land that I had already visited two times, while I was looking forward to a third. But what was it that my eyes had seen, when that train passed in front of me - just logistics? Or was it something much larger than that?

I had not stayed for a very long time in China and my only experiences were within Beijing. Even so, when I left there, I carried something more than just images of amazing buildings and monuments of a great civilization. My mind was filled with experiences of an innovation, which, from that moment, I wished very much to also make this trip towards my country, along with the products of these containers.

I saw people in Beijing embracing today's technology, making payments with something as simple as using an application and touching their mobile phone's screen a couple of times. Coming from a country where only recently part of the population has moved into a way of payments through credit and debit cards only, leaving cash payments behind, this was an impressive step forward for me. I said to myself, yes, why not? China, right in front of me, shows us the way.

It was a comparison in my mind from a distant time in the past when China, once again, introduced money in the form of paper bills. Weren't some people also skeptical back then, when the only form of money that they were using were metal coins? My visits to China made me think that my country's everyday commercial and customer practices are so many years behind, from what is taking place over there right now, that a way to cure the financial illnesses of the past that are still tormenting our economy was explained right before my eyes. It gave me thoughts that the rest of the Western world should also take China's example towards a new era. Cash is a way of payment belonging to the distant past now and my thoughts are also triggered that the plastic cards too also seem to be so outdated.

E-commerce, the purchase of a ticket, services or even the simplest of things, as buying something to eat on the go, have been made incredibly simple, all through some simple mobile phone applications and some barcode scanners. I admired the Chinese people for embracing new technologies and making their life more convenient, while at the same time they are helping their country in the fight against tax evasion.

We must not be afraid to look ahead to what the future holds. I have great love for China and the Chinese people and it makes me very happy when I see good things being put into practice from this place of the world. The way of moneyless payments could be seen everywhere, during my stay there, and by following the news coming from China I see that more and more new ideas are being implemented. I wonder what new things I might encounter in everyday life, when I arrive, soon hopefully, to China again.

The world, through China's leadership, and the Belt and Road Initiative, is not only about the transportation, and through the new Silk Roads, of products made by good, hard working, Chinese people. It is also about a new way of thinking, for the companies, for the consumers, for the cooperation of nations and for the world.

The author is a senior blogger with China Daily website.

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