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Internet Plus tops China’s economy driver: survey

Updated: Oct 8,2015 5:25 PM

In a survey conducted by People’s Tribune magazine, Internet Plus was listed as the new top economic driver ahead of “new type of urbanization” and “mass entrepreneurship and innovation”.

The recent survey covered 5,466 people, including Party and government cadres, specialists and academics, business leaders and the general public.

About 60 percent of the interviewees believed that the driving force behind development “has improved”.

The survey came after Premier Li Keqiang’s remarks about the economy at the Summer Davos in Dalian in September.

“The Chinese economy is going through a transition with traditional drivers being replaced by new ones. ... This is a painful and challenging process. Ups and downs in growth are hardly avoidable,” the Premier said in the speech. He also noted that the economy will not experience a “hard landing”.

Opportunity for transformation

Respondents were asked to consider nine options as new drivers propping up the economy, and list them according to the level of their effect.

Every single option offered in the survey was chosen, but Internet Plus, “new type of urbanization” and “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” emerged as the top three.

In fact, Internet Plus has become the hot phrase of the year ever since the Premier mentioned it in the government work report for the first time.

The Premier also noted the huge market and appeal of the Internet in China as the country has nearly 700 million Internet users.

Tapping into the knowledge and experience of the general public can result in major achievements and efforts should be made to use this resource of hundreds of millions of people via the Internet, according to Premier Li.

The new driver of development

The release of the survey coincided with the Premier’s inspection tour to Henan province, where he was once governor, and his schedule highlighted the importance he placed on the top three drivers.

The development of the Zhengdong New District in Zhengzhou, Henan, is a successful example of promoting urbanization, as it has provided the experience for developing a new type of urbanization that conforms to China’s conditions.

Three examples in the province stand out. A large equipment manufacturer achieved remarkable progress in mass entrepreneurship and innovation; a cold-chain logistics company has created many new development patterns through crowd-funding and Internet Plus; and a newly-established cross-border e-commerce platform has realized sales revenue of more than 700 million yuan with about 100 employees.

All these examples left a lasting impression on the Premier.

It has been less than a year since the Premier first put forward “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” at the Summer Davos in Tianjin, but since then it has gained momentum across the country.

The word “maker” has also joined the language of commerce after appearing on the government work report.

The Premier sees “mass entrepreneurship and innovation” as a “new driver” of the economy, praising its potential on many occasions.

Despite the growing downward pressure faced by the economy, more than 60 percent of the respondents believe that China’s development driver “has become stronger”.

As the People’s Tribune magazine said, a stable driving foundation is important for a country’s development, however, whether its people are optimistic about the country’s future development or not will also exert an influence on future economic and social development.

In recent years, some sections of the foreign media have been making pessimistic comments about China as the economy transformed from high-speed growth to mid-to-high growth.

However, it is encouraging that the survey showed that such voices had not affected the public’s rational expectations for the economy, the magazine said.