People watch smart logistics robots in operation at the comprehensive exhibition area of the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, capital of China, Sept 6, 2020. (JU HUANZONG / XINHUA)
China will scale up measures to spur the growth of the digital economy to inject new impetus into the economy and foster high-quality development, said officials at a major forum during the weekend.
Xiao Yaqing, minister of industry and information technology, said on Saturday the ministry will make a big push to promote digital industrialization and industrial digitalization in the next step.
More efforts are also needed to speed up the construction of digital infrastructure; promote the large-scale commercial deployment of 5G; accelerate the digital, networked and intelligent transformation of manufacturing; improve data services; and strengthen international exchanges and cooperation in the digital economy, Xiao said.
Since 2012, China's digital economy has scaled up from 11 trillion yuan (US$1.6 trillion) to 35.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 36.2 percent of GDP.
Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technology, China
He made the remarks at the Forum on Trends and Latest Developments of Digital Trade at the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing. The CIFTIS, which opened on Friday, continues through Wednesday.
Fueled by booming new technologies and the government's supportive policies, the digital economy is gradually becoming the key driving force boosting China's economic development.
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"Since 2012, China's digital economy has scaled up from 11 trillion yuan (US$1.6 trillion) to 35.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 36.2 percent of GDP," Xiao added.
Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce, said on Saturday China has seen new growth opportunities in digital fields amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the country will continue accelerating the push for advancing the development of digital trade.
"In the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, remote working, e-government services, digital education, online entertainment and other digital sectors have played a key role in safeguarding people's lives and production, preventing and controlling the epidemic, and strengthening global economic and trade cooperation." Wang said.
"It has further demonstrated the huge vitality in (digital economic) development," Wang added. "Digital trade will surely become a key to deepen opening-up on a larger scale, in a broader field, and at a deeper level in the future."
Wang said he believed that digital trade will help promote the sharing of knowledge and technology factors, advance digital transformation, boost innovation and develop new business forms and models in trade.
"We're more inclined to think that digital trade is a new form of trade that uses digital technology for research and development, design and production, and delivers products and services to users through the internet and modern information technology," Wang said.
"Specifically, digital trade includes information technology services, digital content services and other types of offshore service outsourcing through digital interaction, including software, social media, search engines, communications, cloud computing, satellite positioning, digital entertainment and digital media."
Buoyed by the government's supportive policies, China's digital trade is growing rapidly. According to Wang, the volume of China's import and export digital trade surged 6.7 percent to US$203.6 billion in 2019, accounting for 26 percent of the country's total import and export service trade volume.
(We'll) ramp up efforts to develop new business forms and models connecting services and manufacturing, cultivate a group of leading digital enterprises and unicorns (privately held startups) with global influence, and build a sustainable, open and prosperous trading system.
Ji Lin, Chairman of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference
Seeing the huge growth potential from the booming digital trade, Beijing is speeding up the construction of a high-quality digital trade demonstration area, Ji Lin, chairman of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said on Saturday.
Ramping up efforts
Ji said Beijing will build a digital trade pilot zone relying on key areas such as Zhongguancun Software Park, national digital service export bases, free trade zones and the Beijing Daxing airport area, and make full use of blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data and other new technologies for boosting production to make business more competitive.
"(We'll) ramp up efforts to develop new business forms and models connecting services and manufacturing, cultivate a group of leading digital enterprises and unicorns (privately held startups) with global influence, and build a sustainable, open and prosperous trading system," Ji said.
According to Ji, the added value of Beijing's digital economy accounted for 50 percent of the city's GDP in 2019, gaining the top spot nationwide and becoming a key digital economy innovation and development hub.
The total import and export volume of Beijing's service trade reached US$160 billion in 2019, occupying around 20 percent of the service trade volume in China, Ji said.
In the next step, Beijing will continue to develop new business forms and models in fields such as new infrastructure, new opening-up, new consumption, new scenarios and new services, he said.
HONG KONG NEWS