Technology development is energizing digital economy in China


Editor’s note: Gai Keke is a professor at the School of Cyberspace and Science and Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology. Yu Jing is an associate professor at the Institute of Information Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The article reflects the authors’ opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The second Global Digital Trade Expo is taking place in Hangzhou from November 23 to November 27, themed “Digital Trade for Global Business.” It has been reported that participating in this high-level large exhibition are more than 800 enterprises, among which more than 20 percent are overseas participants.

A strong motivation for selling and purchasing has implied a solid foundation of the Chinese digital economy as well as a high-quality ecosystem of the digital economy. Behind the scenes of a prosperous digital economy exhibited in the expo, we observe that the prosperity is closely tied to the rapid development of science and technology. The progress of digital technology has promoted the transformation of international trade with digital trade as the core, known as the fourth wave of globalization.

Back in 1994, China achieved full-featured connectivity to the internet. From then on, with nearly three decades of unremitting efforts and development, Chinese IT (information technology) companies have risen and China has successfully become the second-largest digital economy in the world. In recent years, the Chinese central government has contributed to the digital economy from multiple dimensions, from theoretical attempts to technology transformation; from policy support to education; and from infrastructure construction to global collaboration.

If we look at innovations in applications, for example, we can see many applications have been developed by integrating Chinese traditional culture with modern digital technologies in recent years, which not only exhibits the heritage of Chinese culture, but also reflects the strong vitality of digital technology. Using virtual reality technology has become a popular way for people to display traditional culture and civilization, with broad network-based access. This also implies a trend of industrial transformation enabled by the progress of digital technologies.

Adopting blockchain technology as a key infrastructure for constructing trustworthy network environments may be another representative example. Differing from most of the other countries in terms of usage of blockchain, China opts for a development direction of consortium blockchain, which focuses on building up a fair and transparent network environment to benefit Chinese citizens. Some applications have energized various traditional domains, such as intelligent government affairs and smart agriculture. This also demonstrates the idea of benefiting the people in China’s technological development process.

Moreover, as a new form of property, data are considered to be one of the emerging digital objectives for trading. This is a hot topic in both academia and industry, too. For instance, the China Computer Federation Young Computer Scientists & Engineers Forum has organized a series of forums to explore solutions to a bunch of technical challenges in data trading. On October 25, the National Data Administration was founded to promote the construction of data infrastructure systems, coordinate the integration, sharing, development and utilization of data resources, and coordinate the promotion of key projects’ planning and construction, and so on. It is believed that the foundation is a milestone for speeding up the development of the digital economy in China, energized by the power of “blue ocean” data markets.

In fact, many emerging technologies have been adopted to reinforce the power of the digital economy, which is derived from efforts made by the Chinese government and millions of Chinese IT practitioners and explorers. A wide scope of new technologies, such as cloud computing, big data, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), digital twin and 5G, have facilitated technical revolutions in industries, some of which have appeared to be disruptive technologies. It is worth mentioning that many applications are developed to assist rural revitalization.

In summary, we have sufficient reasons to confidently believe that China’s experience and wisdom in the digital economy can set an example for global technical collaboration. China’s development and efforts in digital technology are the foundation for today’s digital economic prosperity.


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