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Telecom innovation set to turbocharge China's new quality productive forces

China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-23 09:27
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A cloud company employee addresses visitor queries during a telecom expo in Beijing in July. LI XIN/XINHUA

BEIJING — China is pushing for the convergence of next-generation communication with technologies such as big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, aiming to empower various industries and develop new quality productive forces.

With innovation playing the leading role, new quality productive forces mean advanced productivity that is freed from traditional economic growth modes and productivity development paths, and feature high-tech, high efficiency and high quality.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has reported that 5G applications have been successfully integrated into 74 of the 97 major sectors of the national economy.

This includes significant advancements in key areas such as industry, mining, power and healthcare, where 5G is being promoted on a large scale.

Zhao Zhiguo, chief engineer of the MIIT, said 5G is currently progressing toward 5G-Advanced or 5.5G, and there is an increased focus on the research and development of 6G and terabit optical networks.

According to a research by Zhongtai Securities, 5G-A is poised to become the cornerstone for a low-altitude economy, offering comprehensive information services that include life cycle management, intelligent decision support, security and AI-assisted drone supervision.

These capabilities are essential for the safe and efficient operation of low-altitude flights, a burgeoning sector within the economy and an example of developing new quality productive forces.

New quality productive forces are driven by revolutionary technological breakthroughs, innovative allocation of production factors, and deep industrial transformation and upgrading. A prime example is the emergence of futuristic industries.

The MIIT and several other government units have issued a guideline on the innovation and development of humanoid robots as part of efforts to encourage development of new quality productive forces, said Shan Zhongde, vice-minister of industry and information technology.

According to a research note by Guosheng Securities, the humanoid robot market is expected to surpass the 1 trillion-yuan ($138.1 billion) mark in market scale in the future, with 6G playing a significant role in this growth. It will be capable of supporting intelligent dialogue and training for robots by gradually enhancing their level of intelligence.

The research suggests that 6G will boast features such as ultrahigh speed, ultralow latency, global coverage, massive connectivity, ultrahigh reliability and ultralow energy consumption. It is expected to fuel development of game-changing technologies like quantum communication.

Smart manufacturing is the core technology and main focus that will enable the transformation of China's manufacturing industry from being large in scale to becoming stronger in capability and competitiveness, said Shan.

To this end, China is improving infrastructure including moderately and proactively planning for the deployment of information infrastructure such as 5G, computing power and mobile internet of things.

In March, the world's first 400G all-optical interprovincial backbone network officially became commercially available in China.

Compared to the previous generation of backbone networks, its transmission bandwidth has increased by four times, and the energy consumption per bit has been reduced by 65 percent. Data volumes that previously would have taken 10 minutes to transmit can now be completed in just over two minutes, thanks to the new network developed by China Mobile.

It is expected that by mid-2024, the company will fully realize high-speed interconnection between the eight hubs of an initiative channeling computing resources from the country's east to the west, establishing a major all-optical interprovincial backbone network.

The telecom industry in China has developed rapidly in recent years. As of the end of March, the cumulative number of 5G base stations built nationwide has reached 3.647 million, with a 5G user penetration rate exceeding 60 percent, according to MIIT data.

As China continues to lift market access restrictions in the manufacturing sector, it will also promote the opening up of sectors including telecommunications to create more trade and investment opportunities for foreign investors.


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