Official: More efforts needed to augment intl exchanges, innovation capacities

Zeng Yu, director of the China Internet Network Information Center, addresses a forum on digital development during the WIC Wuzhen Summit in Zhejiang province on Thursday. (WANG JING / CHINA DAILY)

The digital economy is playing an increasingly important role in accelerating the digital transformation and upgrading of industries, and bolstering China's high-quality economic development, said officials and company executives at a forum on Thursday during the 2022 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit.

Ren Xianliang, secretary-general of the World Internet Conference, said China has made remarkable achievements in facilitating the development of the digital economy, which has become a significant force driving China's economic growth.

More efforts should be made to strengthen international exchanges and cooperation, improve scientific and technological innovation capacities, attract more high-tech talent and promote the in-depth integration of the digital economy with the real economy, Ren said.

Zeng Yu, director of the China Internet Network Information Center, called for heightened efforts to push ahead with the construction of digital infrastructure, speed up the layout of the cloud computing network and bolster advances in cutting-edge and frontier technologies.

The digital economy is currently booming across the globe. In China, new industries and forms of business buoyed by innovative digital technologies like big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are finding a wide range of applications across various industries and integrating with the real economy.

The scale of China's digital economy reached 45.5 trillion yuan ($6.3 trillion) in 2021, ranking second in the world, and accounted for 39.8 percent of the country's GDP, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

"Propelling new development of the digital economy through technological innovation is the responsibility of digital tech companies," said Liu Yong, vice-president of Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Liu said Tencent has invested heavily in the research and development of core technologies and stepped up efforts in the fields of artificial intelligence, 5G, quantum and blockchain, while bolstering the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises.

In January, the State Council — the nation's Cabinet — announced a plan to further promote development of the digital economy during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). China aims to raise the proportion of the added value of core digital economy industries in its GDP to 10 percent in 2025, according to the plan.

Zhou Hongyi, founder of cybersecurity company 360 Security Group, emphasized the significance of pushing forward the digital transformation of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises or MSMEs, as they still face mounting pressure and challenges from the shortage of capital, talent and technology.

More efforts are needed to leverage digital technologies to help such enterprises, which play a critical part in narrowing the income gap and bolstering development of the real economy, Zhou said, adding that the company has launched an SaaS — or software as a service — platform and is helping drive the digitalization push of MSMEs.

With the emergence of new digital technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain, business-oriented internet applications have entered the fast lane, said Qu Fang, co-founder of Xiaohongshu, a lifestyle-focused social networking site.

Luigi Gambardella, president of China-EU, an international association promoting digital and high-tech cooperation between European and Chinese companies, said Chinese companies should grasp opportunities in the digital economy era for win-win cooperation with European partners.

"Chinese companies offering digital energy-saving applications and technologies have huge opportunities in European markets," he said, adding that investments by Chinese companies would give positive signals to European enterprises amid the energy crisis and high inflation in Europe.