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Emerging Digital Technologies Boost China’s Telecoms Sector

With the heavy investment in the telecoms industry, China’s telecoms sector is enjoying robust growth early. Indeed, the sector posted a steady expansion in the first quarter (Q1) of the year. What is immediately clear is that such a robust showing is riding on the back of emerging digital technologies. For instance, Big Data and cloud computing have logged a rapid, almost explosive growth, per official government data.

The combined industrial telecoms revenue rose 9.3% year-on-year to 393.5 billion yuan (about US$ 60.92 billion). That’s positive growth. Specifically, it’s a pace of 2.8 percentage points faster than the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

What has become apparent is emerging digital technologies played a huge role in such a robust showing. Emerging businesses, such as big data, cloud computing, internet data centres and the Internet of Things (IoT), registered rapid expansion. The numbers speak of rapid growth. The emerging business revenue of China’s three telecom giants, all state-owned, surged 36.3% year-on-year to 79.7 billion yuan (US$ 12,150,500,912).

In breakdown, the revenue for cloud computing services soared to greater heights as it grew by 138.1% year-on-year. Growth for Big Data surged 59.1% while IoT rose to 23.9% compared to last year. The numbers on the ground are steadily growing in digital technology.

Steady progress was also made in the construction of 5G base stations. By the end of March, China’s 5G base stations have reached 1.56 million in number, with 134,000 built in the first three months of the year. That’s a lot more growth compared to the numbers last year.

It might even grow bigger by the end of the year. While the numbers of the three key telecoms player are steadily rising, a new player is on the horizon. The country has introduced its fourth state-owned 5G operator that’s going to start assigning cell phone numbers before the year ends.

That can spike even more the country’s 5G adoption and push with greater vigour the use of emerging digital technologies. By definition, 5G refers to the 5th generation of mobile networks. It’s the latest global wireless standard that came after the older less capable networks (1G, 2G, 3G, 4G ). To note, 5G is designed to carry more load. It can connect virtually everything and everyone together. That includes devices, people and even smart machines.

Digital transformation can drastically change an industry’ China’s various industries are classic examples of this. Digital adoption means more efficiency and greater productivity on the line. An example here is the power industry. Once it became heavily invested in digitalisation, China’s power sector also rose, posting steady growth numbers.

Most importantly, digital adoption is a big boost to the people. China’s cashless society with its heavy reliance on QR Codes is a classic example. Now, people don’t need to carry physical money to buy goods. They just need to bring their smartphones. Such emerging technology is also transforming China’s biggest cities. As noted, Shenzhen is pushing for more digital adoption in its financial sector to benefit its growing population. That should encourage a greater flow of goods and services all over the province.

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