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Digital economy empowers China’s high-quality development

This photo taken on May 26, 2023 shows new energy and intelligent connected vehicles displayed at the exhibition center of Zhongguancun National Independent Innovation Demonstration Zone in Beijing, capital of China. Xinhua

By Xinhua

Digitalization, a trend for global economic development, has become an indispensable part of China’s high-quality development.

Artificial intelligence, quantum computing, blockchain technology, brain-computer interface, and digital transformation of enterprises – digital technology and digitalization are gaining traction in global economic development.

In recent years, the sector has seen robust growth. The scale of China’s digital economy grew to 50.2 trillion yuan (about 7.09 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2022, with year-on-year nominal growth of 10.3 percent and ranking second globally, according to a report on the development of China’s digital industry.

The share of the digital economy in the country’s GDP rose to 41.5 percent, the report said.

“China’s digital progress has been spectacular,” Thomas C. Tuttle, former president of the World Academy of Productivity Science, said via video link at the just-concluded Zhongguancun Forum, adding that China has done a better job of creating digital platforms that provide rich sources of market data from customers that can be analyzed to drive innovation.

The policy supports provided a thrust for the growth of the sector. Wang Jianwei, an official with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at the forum that over the past few years, China has rolled out plans to facilitate the development of the digital economy and to integrate its industrial sector with information technologies in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), while local governments have introduced more than 300 supporting policies.

Other than government support, enterprises in China have also been blazing their trails toward digitalization, driving the country’s bid to make its industrial, rural, and other sectors more efficient and advanced.

Telecom provider China Unicom considers digitalization services as one of its major businesses, Li Guangju, president of China Unicom Digital Technology, said at the forum.

Based on the digital transformation needs of enterprises, China Unicom has built a complete set of digitalization platforms for enterprises to connect their old and new applications.

So far, the company has provided digitalization services for more than 300 large-scale enterprises in management, operation, and production, Li said.

In the meantime, the application and promotion of digital technology in the field of agriculture and rural affairs have spawned new business forms, new platforms, and new models, Gao Liqiang, vice president of China’s online retailer giant JD.com said when delivering a speech at the forum.

Gao said JD.com has been promoting the digital upgrading of the whole process of agricultural products from production to sales with its digital supply chain technology.

The development of China’s digital sector brought more opportunities for international cooperation.

The digital economy offers tremendous opportunities for job creation, economic growth, and social development, said Luigi Gambardella, chairman of the China-Europe Digital Association.

“Europe and China, as two major players in the digital arena, have a crucial role in shaping this shared future. By joining hands, we can set new standards, establish common frameworks, and drive the digital agenda forward,” Gambardella said.

For the next move, China will continue to strengthen the layout of 5G, the industrial internet, artificial intelligence, and other digital infrastructure, level-up sectors such as big data and basic software, and build internationally competitive digital industrial clusters, Wang Jianwei said.

Efforts will also be made to cultivate a cross-industry and cross-field comprehensive industrial internet platform, and conduct digital transformation in the manufacturing sector to promote the digital transformation to a more profound level, said Wang.