Digital transformation

China looks to speed up digital transformation

Digital transformation of China:

The Chinse government is to ramp up efforts to improve basic data systems and add more digital infrastructure, while accelerating the digital transformation of businesses.

Sun Wei, deputy director of the Department of Innovation and High-Tech Development at the National Development and Reform Commission, said action will be taken to “speed up large-scale commercial application of superfast 5G technology, cultivate digital industrial clusters with global competitiveness and deepen international cooperation in the digital economy sector”.

Sun made the comments ahead of the sixth Digital China Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Fuzhou, Fujian province, from April 27 to 28. The summit will include a main forum, 20 sub-forums centred on current topics including data resources, artificial intelligence and digital government, plus two exhibitions spaces.

Cao Shumin, deputy head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said the number of 5G base stations in the country reached 2.31 million at the end of 2022.

She explained how the digital economy has been a key driver of economic growth, with China’s electronic information manufacturing sector logging operating revenue of 15.4 trillion yuan ($2.2 trillion) last year.

China’s digital economy was worth 45.5 trillion yuan in 2021, the second largest in the world. It accounted for 39.8% of GDP, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

Guo Ningning, vice-governor of Fujian province, said businesses in the province were utilising a wide range of digital technologies across various industries, adding that the added value of Fujian’s digital economy surpassed 2.6 trillion yuan in 2022 – nearly 50% of its GDP.

China unveiled 20 key measures in December to build basic systems for data and put data resources to better use. The country’s basic systems for data will involve the establishment of a data property rights system, a circulation and trading system, a revenue distribution system and a security governance system.


China recovery boosts global growth

China’s rapid recovery has brightened the regional and global economic outlook, according to a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report.

The Asian Development Outlook 2023, the ADB’s annual economic publication, expected China’s gross domestic product to rebound to 5% this year and to 4.5% in 2024.

The report also forecasts that developing Asia’s GDP will grow by 4.8% this year and next year, saying the growth of this region remains resilient.

“China’s reopening has lifted the region’s outlook,” said the report, adding that it will support growth in regional exporters of commodities, manufactured intermediates and final goods; it could lead to a stronger pick-up in growth, boosting external demand for economies in the rest of the region.

China’s reopening will “further boost regional tourism and provide a lift to trade”, according to ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

Meanwhile, the authors of the report warns of “multiple challenges” that may have a negative impact on economic growth across the region.

The report said that worsening global financial conditions are heightening risks to the financial sector, as witnesses by bank vulnerabilities in the United States and Europe, most notably the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US and Credit Suisse in Europe.

“The uncertainty over the Russia-Ukraine conflict persists; an escalation could rekindle inflation pressures and sharpen food security challenges,” the report adds.

The ADB also predicted that inflation would begin to level off, gradually moving closer to pre-pandemic levels in the region. It expected inflation to decelerate to 4.2% this year, easing further to 3.3% in 2024.

ADB’s Chief Economist Albert Park said South Asia is expected to grow faster than other regions. He added that growth in East Asia and Southeast Asia is benefiting from increased domestic demand and growth in the Pacific is gaining from returning tourists.

Park warned that “an array of immediate and emerging challenges” could still put the brake on the region’s recovery. “Governments must continue supporting multilateralism and lean against the risks of global fracturing. And Asia must continue its strong regional cooperation to weather these uncertain environments,” he said.