Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Internet Plus is certainly worth the buzz

By Wang Yiqing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-25 08:45

Internet Plus is certainly worth the buzz

Lin Nianxiu, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a sub-forum of the ongoing World Internet Conference that runs through Friday. [File Photo]

Internet Plus has been selected as China's "domestic buzz word of 2015" in a joint poll by the National Language Resource Monitoring and Research Center, the Commercial Press, and China Central Television. This is not surprising because the term has been frequently used by the media to refer to a national development strategy and the huge influence it will have on Chinese people, even on those who are not familiar with its exact meaning.

As cultural activist and professor of Beijing Normal University Yu Dan said, Internet Plus means change in ordinary people's lifestyles, as well as transformation of enterprises and multi-industry integration.

Internet Plus can be simply interpreted as "Internet + various traditional industries", which takes advantage of the information and communications technology as well as the Internet platform to integrate the Internet and traditional industries, in order to create a new mode of development.

After Premier Li Keqiang advocated the Internet Plus action plan in the 2015 Government Work Report at the beginning of this year, the term became a top-down national strategy to guide the country's development in the next stage. In the report, the government emphasized the integration of the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks and Internet banking, and to help Internet-based companies increase their presence in the international market.

The concept is regarded as one of the most important guidelines for China's economic restructuring and industrial upgrading, and is viewed as part of the "fourth industrial revolution". At the macro level, it highlights the coming years, with this year seeming to be the start of a new era. Every industry is talking about the new trend and how it could be effectively applied to secure first-mover advantage and avoid being left behind.

Ordinary people may be insensitive to macro policies, but they can realize their lives are being changed at an incredible pace. An increasing number of individuals are becoming part of the trend of startups and innovation, and quite a few of the new businesses and innovations are related to Internet Plus.

Internet Plus is already present in almost every aspect of life today; it is changing not only the social operation mode but also people's behavior. Online sales of train ticket have saved people from queuing up to book a ticket under the unbearable summer sun and in icy cold winter, preventing them from becoming victims of ticket scalpers.

Online shopping has become an indispensable part of many people's lives. During the Single's Day shopping gala on Nov 11, the total e-commerce sales in China reached 122.94 billion yuan ($18.97 billion). The popularization of the mobile Internet car-hailing service has helped passengers get cabs more easily, posing a challenge to traditional taxi industry. Even senior citizens are becoming increasingly interested in using mobile Internet payment services, with many of them entering the world of simple notification services through micro blog and/or WeChat, China's social network platforms. And people have become more confident of a brighter future thanks to Internet Plus.

But along with convenience, social transition also brings shocks and pains. The booming of an emerging industry means the fall of a traditional one; the rise of a new industrial model means the end of a traditional mode of production. For instance, the rise of e-commerce has led to the decline of the offline retail industry and commercial real estate. True, Internet Plus can help create millionaires and billionaires more easily, but it also creates the problem of unemployment and the slow death of some traditional industries and the traditional production mode.

In short, opportunities and challenges co-exist in the era of Internet Plus. So while enjoying the benefits of the innovative production mode, we also have to properly deal with the problems that upgrading and restructuring of industries may bring.

The author is a writer with China Daily.

Most Viewed Today's Top News