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China Expanding Digital Economy for Tech Self-Sufficiency

Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged to support the development of key technologies while strengthening the regulation of the country’s tech giants as part of his strategy to expand the digital economy. The country needs to boost innovation in core technologies and step up research capabilities to achieve self-sufficiency as soon as possible. China also called for an acceleration in the development of high-speed, secure smart infrastructure that can connect all aspects of the online economy as well as for breakthroughs in key software technologies.

In recent years, the internet, big data, cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and other technologies have accelerated their innovation and are increasingly integrated into the entire economy and society. China needs to make its digital economy stronger and better to align the once-in-a-century transformation with the national priority of rejuvenating the country.

Xi Jinping, President of China

The nation has attached great importance to the development of the digital economy, implemented the network power strategy and the national big data strategy, expanded the network economy space, supported various innovations based on the Internet, and promoted the Internet, big data, AI and the real economy are deeply integrated, building a digital China, a smart society, advancing digital industrialisation and industrial digitisation, and creating an internationally competitive digital industry cluster.

China has identified the digital economy as a key driver for growth over the next few decades and made achieving tech self-sufficiency a top national priority. To support that growth, Beijing has doubled down on funding for strategically important industries such as semiconductors and AI, while rolling out new legislation covering everything from data security to fair competition as part of efforts to bring the country’s once free-wheeling internet giants in line with the national agenda.

Committed to the greater integration of traditional industries and the digital economy, China must cultivate a group of “specialised and innovative” enterprises and manufacturing champions to achieve technological breakthroughs and ensure the competitiveness of the country’s industrial supply chain.

A report showed that China is now a major player in digital technology with enormous growth potential. Digitalisation disrupts the status quo and restructures value chains. China’s e-commerce transactions were estimated to be larger than many developed countries.

The value of China’s individual consumption mobile payments was $790 billion in 2016, 11 times that of the United States. Meanwhile, China is in the global top three for venture capital investment in virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, robotics, drones and AI.

One-third of the world’s 262 private startups valued at more than $1 billion is Chinese, commanding 43% of the global value of those companies. A large and young market that enables rapid commercialisation of digital business models, a rich digital ecosystem expanding beyond a few giants, and the government allowing space for digital companies to experiment and being an investor in and consumer of digital technologies, are three key factors suggesting a huge upside for China.

The report also predicted that digital technology might shift and create between 10% and 45% of industry revenues in China by 2030. Digitalisation could make China’s economy more dynamic and enable more Chinese businesses to compete globally and even export “Made In China” digital business models.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, China has made continuous efforts on improving the financial regulatory system in the face of new challenges posed by financial technology. The Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) urged disconnecting improper links between financial information and business information to prevent monopoly in the closed-loop of data, network and financial activities.

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