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Digital economy bringing beneficial disruption

By Chen Jia | China Daily | Updated: 2018-03-04 12:20
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A former classmate, who resigned from her job as a research and development engineer at Facebook in the United Kingdom, has returned to Beijing and joined a local startup providing artificial intelligence technology and services. The startup has attracted strategic investment from the three biggest State-owned banks in China.

After eight years of studying and working in the UK and obtaining a PhD in computer science from Oxford University, my classmate saw China as the ideal place to develop her career in the high-tech sector.

The digital economy is expected to be a hot discussion topic in the coming days during the annual sessions of the National People's Congress and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Policies to encourage the growth of the digital economy, especially to attract talented individuals and outstanding industry experts back to China from abroad, are expected to support the world's second-largest economy's transformation to a high-quality growth model.

"This will be a trend in the coming years - more Chinese scientists returning from overseas to join the wave of digital economic development, as China is seen as the world's largest potential market for new technology," my classmate said.

The fast growth of the digital economy in China, which is driven by expertise, will disrupt not only the business ecosystem, but also the whole of society, especially in the areas of healthcare, education and government services. A common view has formed globally that the future competition between countries on the pace of digital economic growth will depend more on the people who use it, rather than the rate of technological innovation itself.

A recent survey from the Dentsu Aegis Network, a global network that helps clients build consumer relationships through creative digital execution, showed that China ranks third among the 10 leading digital economies in 2018 in terms of how well it is building a digital economy that works for everyone in society. The top two are the UK and the United States.

Chinese respondents were generally optimistic about the future development of the digital economy, reflecting how rapidly the country is embracing changes that will drive overall economic growth.

In the age of digital Darwinism, China's economic growth is transitioning to a new technology and innovation-led model led by developments in artificial intelligence, robotics, virtual reality and blockchain.

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