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Digital economy shaping China’s future

Updated: Dec 4,2017 4:21 PM

China’s soaring digital economy, representing over 30 percent of its GDP, ushered in changes in a wide range of fields, such as e-commerce, big data, mobile payment, and vehicle-sharing. Digitization has risen to become a key driver of China’s economic growth, People’s Daily reported on Dec 4.

Digitized daily life

China has the biggest share of the global mobile internet market, with 96.3 percent of its 724 million netizens being mobile internet users. A scene from Shanghai’s subway, in which almost all commuters are staring at the screens of their smartphones, was found sensational by Financial Times, which asserted that China’s vibrant digital industry spearheaded the global mobile ecosystem.

Among China’s most popular innovations, three are digital products — Alipay, sharing bikes and online shopping. Along with the increasingly digitized high-speed railway, they have reshaped Chinese people’s lives.

Restructured business mode

An overwhelming tide of e-commerce in China triggered a corresponding conversion of the traditional retail market to an online mode, which proved surprisingly successful, with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group’s daily turnover on this year’s Singles’ Day attaining a record 168.2 billion yuan ($25.43 billion). This indicates that digitization has already become a key driver for China’s supply-side structural reform.

Digitization contributed to more than 30 percent of China’s GDP, which is the speediest annual growth worldwide, said Liu Shengyi, senior executive vice-president at Tencent Holdings. Meanwhile, digital inclusion, namely, digital technologies dovetailed with traditional sectors, contributes to 76 percent to digital economy’s growth. In so doing, traditional industries and enterprises will be digitized across the board.

Additionally, a multifaceted digital ecosystem covering various industries is coming to the fore with the support of a surge in technology companies. For instance, bike sharing, by virtue of digital technology and business innovation, is extending its influence far and wide overseas, according to a report in Germany’s Manager Magazine.

Redirected social development

Digitization is changing the course of China’s social development as well. Online social governance rendered obsolete the previous one-sided regulation mode, heralding cooperative governance underpinned by multiple digital platforms on which 239 million users pitch in.

China has what it takes to launch digitization in transportation and public security, with Hangzhou, Shanghai, and other cities taking the lead. “Compared to other nations, our cities enjoy the soundest security,” said Li Tie, director of the China Center for Urban Development (CCUD).

In addition, e-commerce, sharing economy, and social media also inspired new approaches to overcome poverty. For example, the e-commerce turnover in Guizhou province, greatly boosted by the establishment of a series of e-commerce agencies, reached 143.6 billion yuan last year, up 34.7 percent year-on-year, lifting nearly 100,000 people out of poverty.