Experts: Guideline sharpens focus on high-tech as a means to global edge
A robotic arm is in use on the production line of a carmaker in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. (YUAN JINGZHI / FOR CHINA DAILY)
China's latest efforts to promote the country's digital development are expected to lay a solid foundation for long-term economic growth, bolster digital transformation and upgrade of industries, and enhance the country's core global competitiveness, industry experts said.
In recent years, China has been accelerating the construction of digital infrastructure and a data resources system, they noted.
They made their comments after reviewing a related guideline that was jointly released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Monday.
The guideline stated that building a digital China is important for the advancement of Chinese modernization in the digital era. A digital China, it said, will provide solid support for the development of the country's new competitive edge.
Important progress will be made in the construction of a digital China by 2025, with effective interconnectivity in digital infrastructure, a significantly improved digital economy, and major breakthroughs achieved in digital technology innovation, according to the plan.
By 2035, China will be at the global forefront of digital development, and its digital progress in certain aspects of economy, politics, culture, society and ecology will be more coordinated and sufficient, the plan said.
"The country's latest move to build a digital China will not only inject strong impetus into the high-quality development of the digital economy, but also bring about new business opportunities to companies engaged in fields like telecommunication, computing power, digital government affairs, and information technology applications," said Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University's International Business School.
According to him, the guideline is comprehensive and sets a clear direction for the country's digital transformation in the coming years. Emerging digital technologies represented by 5G, big data and AI have played a critical role in enhancing operational efficiency, cutting costs and speeding up digital and intelligent upgrades in enterprises amid economic downward pressure, he said.
China built 887,000 new 5G base stations last year, and the total number of 5G stations reached 2.31 million, accounting for more than 60 percent of the world's total, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed.
On Tuesday, digital economy-related stocks rose sharply in the A-share market, with shares of software developer Shenzhen Hezhong Information Technology Co Ltd and optical communication company Nanjing Huamai Technology Co Ltd surging by the daily limit of 10 percent.
China will strive to promote the in-depth integration of digital technologies and the real economy, and accelerate the application of digital technologies in key areas including agriculture, manufacturing, finance, education, medical services, transportation and energy sectors, said the plan.
The plan also stated the construction of a digital China will be included in the assessment and evaluation of government officials. Efforts will also be made to guarantee capital input, as well as encourage and guide capital to participate in the country's digital development in a standardized manner.
Chen Duan, director of the Digital Economy Integration Innovation Development Center at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said, "Against the backdrop of an increasingly complicated international situation and geopolitical tensions, stepping up digital infrastructure construction is of great significance to bolster industrial upgrade and foster new growth drivers."
The plan sets clear direction for China's digital development in the future, and will drive local authorities to actively participate in the construction of a digital China under the guidance of new incentives, Chen said.
The scale of China's digital economy reached 45.5 trillion yuan ($6.6 trillion) in 2021, ranking second in the world and accounting for 39.8 percent of the country's GDP, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
Yin Limei, director of the digital economy research office, which is part of the National Industrial Information Security Development Research Center, said more efforts should be made to strengthen the enterprises' prominent role in technological innovation, make breakthroughs in the integrated circuits sector, and cultivate a batch of hightech enterprises with global competitiveness.