China's 'digital miracle' continues

China Daily | Updated: 2019-10-20 20:40
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Arndt Groth, CEO of Smaato Inc

A1: China's internet growth and penetration is astonishing. According to the latest figures, internet penetration in urban areas rose from 71 to 74.6 percent in 2019 compared to the previous year. Those aged 10 to 39 years old represent 67.8 percent of all internet users in China.

What is even more intriguing is that 98.6 percent of all internet users access the internet through mobile devices. These numbers are nowhere else to be seen worldwide, and it gets even more impressive if you consider that China has more internet users than the US, Canada, and Europe altogether.

A2: The global digital landscape nowadays is shaped by the US and Chinese companies. Looking at Boston Consulting Group's latest list of the most influential internet-based companies this year, 11 of the top 20 are from the US; the remainder are based in China.

This alone says a lot about the power that Chinese internet-based companies hold in the modern digital ecosystem. Alibaba and Tencent are perhaps the best known globally, but we will see many more Chinese powerhouse names becoming known worldwide as their global presence expands, and Bytedance is one of the best examples.

A3: When it comes to Chinese apps on my phone, I have a few that I like to use when visiting China. There is no way to do business with China without WeChat. It is impressive how an app like Didi is seamlessly integrated with WeChat and makes travel in China so easy.

I've also downloaded TikTok, out of curiosity, since I always try to be up to speed with the latest industry trends. Although I'm only a random active user myself, I believe the concept and the immense continuous growth of this platform is simply staggering, and we are yet to witness its full impact across the advertising industry.

A4: One of the ways we will see 5G improving the quality of life across the globe will be in the form of smart cities. Upgrading to 5G will allow entire cities to handle data from millions of IoT devices.

By installing low-power sensors within IoT-driven devices, we will be able to lower electricity costs, reduce light pollution in large urban areas, and have infrastructure that can last years without needing to be replaced.

We will also see a broader industrial and commercial impact of IoT in transport and logistics. Autonomous vehicles are already being tested in the market, and with 5G in place, it is expected that they will become widely accessible.

We will also witness this progress in personalized “anywhere, anytime” medicine, and the need to physically visit a doctor will significantly drop. We are facing an exciting time ahead, and it will be a privilege to witness the progress that is on the horizon.

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