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Internet Plus: Premier Li’s new tech tool

Updated: Mar 13,2015 9:54 PM

Internet Plus - a fresh notion mentioned by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5 in the government work report - has become a hot topic among people working in China’s Internet industry. This is especially true for the industry’s big names for the opportunities it might bring.

“We will develop the Internet Plus action plan to integrate the mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data, and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and Internet banking, and to guide Internet-based companies to increase their presence in the international market,” Premier Li said in the report.

As the Premier has said, encouraging popular entrepreneurship is one measure the government has adopted to address the downward pressure faced by the Chinese economy amid the sluggish recovery of the global economy.

Statistics have shown that the Internet industry has greatly contributed to the 13.22 million new urban jobs China created over the last year.

The role it played in promoting the development of small- and micro-sized businesses is obvious. Early in 2013, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, told the Premier that Alibaba, with more than 20,000 employees, has indirectly facilitated the employment of a 10 million population.

Yu Yang, CEO of industry consultancy Analysys International, told Southern Weekly that in the future, 40 percent of China’s GDP will be contributed by traditional enterprises that have realized the utilization of Internet platforms and technologies.

In fact, China’s decision-makers in recent years have started to invite leaders of Internet companies to attend economic symposiums.

Besides Jack Ma, Xiaomi’s co-founder and CEO Lei Jun, Tencent founder and Chairman Pony Ma, founder of e-commerce company Inc Liu Qiangdong and Sohu CEO Zhang Chaoyang have been invited by Li.

It was during an economic symposium last July that Lei Jun suggested lifting up the Internet to a national strategic level, a proposal also previously made by other bosses.

Unexpectedly, the Internet Plus appeared in this year’s two sessions.

China held the first World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, an ancient town in Zhejiang province, in November. It was an effort to strive for a bigger say in the Internet world.

More than 1,000 cyberspace officials, specialists and business tycoons from more than 100 countries and regions gathered in Wuzhen to discuss Internet issues.

And China is not the only economy that attaches great importance to the Internet.

In a speech at Stanford University, US President Barack Obama calls cyberspace the new “Wild West”, with everyone looking to the government to be the sheriff.

“China’s Internet Plus action plan is a little bit like the upgraded version of Washington’s information superhighway strategy,” Yu Yang told Southern Weekly.

But he suggested the regulators to take an open-minded attitude toward the development of the Internet.

Pony Ma believes that the “Internet Plus” should be based on good infrastructure construction, which includes the infrastructure of network and data.