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China to Build Four National Computing Hubs

China has approved plans to build four national integrated computing hubs as part of its ongoing efforts to increase the nation’s computing capacity and speed up the construction of new infrastructure. Industry experts said the plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission and three other central departments is in line with the national strategy of promoting green, high-quality development of the digital economy and injecting new impetus into economic growth.

Under the plan, each hub will give full play to its advantages in the market, technology, talent and capital, develop data centre clusters with high energy efficiency and low carbon emissions, improve the quality of data supply, and realise the coordinated and sustainable development of large-scale computing power deployment with land, energy, water, electricity and other resources.

With the blossoming of new-generation information technologies like 5G, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and the industrial internet, data have become a national basic resource and an important factor of production. The establishment of national integrated computing hubs will improve efficiency in the use of computing resources, boost the free flow of data and promote the high-quality development of the digital economy.

The investment in establishing data centre clusters is enormous. Chinese technology companies should utilise innovative technologies to improve data centres’ operational efficiency and cut power consumption. After years of development, China has taken a lead in the world in the big data sector. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology unveiled a plan for the big data sector’s development during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), envisaging a scale topping 3 trillion yuan ($473.7 billion) by the end of 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of around 25%.

China’s big data sector grew rapidly over the past five years, with the scale exceeding 1 trillion yuan by 2020. The construction of national integrated computing hubs will provide strong support for the growth of advanced manufacturing, boost technological innovation and enhance the country’s core competitiveness.

The nation seeks to tap the value of massive data resources more efficiently. These hubs are capital and technology-intensive and need a large number of technical professionals. More efforts should be made to strengthen network transmission capacity among these national hubs. Data centres should increase computing efficiency, save computing energy consumption and truly meet the needs of future smart computing.

The scale of the country’s big data industry will likely exceed 3 trillion yuan (about $470 billion) by the end of 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of around 25%. A market-oriented pricing mechanism for data as a key factor of production will be established by then, the MIIT said, adding that it would raise the social awareness of big data and incentivise advanced big data-powered products and services. China’s big data sector saw rapid development during the past five years, with the scale exceeding 1 trillion yuan by 2020.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, industry experts and financial-technology service providers called for the upgrade of homegrown financial-technology capabilities to further elevate the financial sector and boost the digitalisation of other industry sectors.

The insurance industry is likely to be a forerunner in terms of digital transformation. The operation efficiency and sophistication level of service in the insurance sector should be further enhanced despite initial progress in the realm, as digitalisation is becoming a prerequisite for all insurance service providers. There is also a basic demand to leverage financial-technology measures to counter potential cybersecurity risks, as large amounts of data are leveraged for daily operations and business decisions.

The digitalisation of financial services would help resolve financial imbalances and further serve underfinanced groups. The digitalisation of financial services offers tailor-made solutions for small and micro businesses and helps mitigate risks for commercial lenders.

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