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China’s Digital Economy Opens New Opportunities for International Cooperation

From big data, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) to blockchain, 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI), China’s digital economy has taken centre stage and opened up new possibilities for international cooperation as it is becoming ubiquitous in modern life.

At the Smart China Expo 2021 and the China-Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Forum on the Digital Economy Industry, guests from all SCO countries and relevant SCO bodies attended the forum online or offline, and more than 610 companies from 31 countries and regions, participated in the expo through online or offline exhibitions. A total of 92 projects worth a total of 250 billion yuan (about 38.62 billion U.S. dollars) were signed, demonstrating the vitality of the digital economy.

Latest Smart Technologies

China saw the display of a wide range of cutting-edge technologies and applications, including a cloud-computing processor the size of a business card, an AI machine that can grade homework and tests, and smart home technologies that allow users to voice-control heaters and floor-cleaning robots through a mobile app.

A capsule robot capable of performing gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures through automated navigation caught the attention of many visitors. With the help of AI, the capsule robot can navigate its way around the stomach along pre-planned routes and perform medical examinations in a painless and non-intrusive way. China’s smart technology plays great roles in various sectors whether it is AI, education, health, climate change, and agriculture, etc., in the past two years when the world has been under the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Field of Cooperation

The scale of China’s digital economy hit 39.2 trillion yuan in 2020, accounting for 38.6% of the country’s GDP, according to a white paper recently released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. While evolving into a new driver powering economic growth, the digital economy has helped many countries deepen international cooperation in more fields.

China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology stated that China stands firm in its commitment to opening-up and cooperation, and will continue to expand new space and share development opportunities of the digital economy.

Singapore’s Minister of Communications and Information and Second Minister for Home Affairs said that The possibilities offered by the digital revolution are cross-cutting and limited only by the imagination. Only by working together with countries we fully unlock the potential of digital technologies.

According to an article, the President of China said that as the world is entering a period featuring the rapid development of the digital economy, new technologies, business patterns and platforms such as 5G, AI and smart cities are booming and profoundly affecting global scientific innovation, industrial restructuring and socioeconomic development.

In recent years, China has been actively promoting digital industrialisation and industrial digitisation and has been pushing forward the deep integration of digital technologies with economic and social development. Digitisation, networking and intelligence should provide more momentum for economic and social development, thus creating a new chapter for digital economic cooperation.

To develop its digital economy further, China has been experimenting with a digital currency. As reported by OpenGov Asia, a digital yuan offers better data for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC)—China’s central bank—and other government bodies. The more the digital currency is used, the more the government has instant awareness of purchases and transfers, even knowing the geographic location of activity.

The introduction of a digital yuan will bring benefits to Chinese consumers and society, facilitate government data collection and monitoring, but will not have a material impact on the yuan’s international status.


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