China pledges collaboration to drive global digital development

Chinese President Xi Jinping says the country is 'ready to work with' other nations to both tap into opportunities for the digital revolution and build a 'shared cyberspace' future, including a new cybersecurity regime.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

China has pledged to collaborate in global efforts to drive digital development and build a "shared cyberspace" community. It has underscored the importance of internet and international cooperation, as economies worldwide look to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping said China was "ready to work with other countries" to tap the opportunities "presented by the information revolution" and drive growth through innovation as well as open up new grounds in digital cooperation. 

Efforts would also be made to create a new paradigm for cybersecurity and to build a community with a "shared future in cyberspace" to create a "brighter future for humanity", Xi said in a letter he penned for the 2020 World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China. 

Pointing to the role the internet can play in driving economic recovery, he said telemedicine, e-learning, as well as online collaborative platforms and tools were widely used when the COVID-19 outbreak surfaced, according to a report by state-run media China Daily.

Speaking via video link at the forum, United Nations's Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Liu Zhenmin added that the need for global cooperation was especially critical now that the world has embraced digital transformation

China's digital economy, alone, hit 35.8 trillion yuan ($5.45 trillion) in 2019, accounting for 36.2% of its total GDP, according to a report by the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies, which was released at the conference this week.

The research said the digital economy played a key role in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak and would help reshape the local economy. 

Pointing to the country's network rollout, it noted that there were 5.44 million 4G base stations across China in 2019, with the local mobile population leading the world's consumption at 122 billion GB in data traffic. More than 480,000 5G base stations have also been deployed in the county as of September this year. 

Local e-commerce transactions climbed 6.7% year-on-year to clock 34.81 trillion yuan ($5.29 trillion) in 2019. 

At this year's November 11 shopping festival, Alibaba Group raked in more than 372.3 billion yuan ($56.58 billion) in gross merchandise volume just 30 minutes into the start of the annual event, with the number of orders peaking at 583,000 orders per second. 

China has had tense relations with several nations over the past couple of years, however, including the US, India, and Australia, which have implemented bans on various Chinese apps and technologies. 

In its most recent move, the outgoing Trump administration in August expanded restrictions to further curb Huawei Technologies' access to core components, barring the Chinese tech giant from purchasing chips made by foreign manufacturers using US technology. It also added another 38 affiliates of Huawei to the Entity List, including Huawei Cloud Singapore and Huawei Cloud France.  


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