Young Chinese entrepreneurs encouraged to enter digital economy

Young Chinese entrepreneurs encouraged to enter digital economy

Around 2,000 youth representatives from more than 100 countries attended the recent World Youth Development Forum, according to the Chinese Communist Youth League Central Committee.

The forum, entitled ‘For a Shared Future: Promoting Sustainable Development with Youth and for Youth’, took place in cities across the country including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing, and also online.

The event focused on employment and entrepreneurship; climate change and green development; the digital economy; and inclusive, equitable and quality education. More than 100 guest speakers spoke at the various events.

An Action Plan for Global Youth Development and an International Advocacy for Prioritizing Youth Development were launched at the event, while the Digital Economy Thematic Forum took place in Beijing.

Some 400 officials, academics, entrepreneurs, heads of international organisations and young leaders from all over the world were invited to discuss ways to encourage young people globally to meet the opportunities and challenges presented by the digital economy.

With the digital economy emerging as a new driver of the global economy, Xu Kemin, chief economist of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that he hoped young people would share their experience and knowledge in IT and participate in building the global digital economy.

The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) representative in China, Beate Trankmann, said young people “are digital natives and these fresh minds can lead us to the technological revolution”.

Young entrepreneurs from countries including China, India and Bangladesh, shared their experience in using digital technology to empower economic development, contributing insight into the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Solutions to the pressing issues

As digital natives, young people can make good use of the benefits of the digital economy to promote world development and seek solutions to the pressing issues facing humanity, delegates at a break-out meeting at the World Youth Development Forum were told.

The UNDP’s Trankmann said that although the Covid-19 pandemic forced many people back to poverty and global conflicts have led to soaring oil prices around the world, there is still reason for optimism.

She said that digitalization is transforming the world at an unprecedented rate and sophisticated new technologies are being developed every day. If the world can sustainably harness and direct new technologies toward the many challenges facing the planet, digitalization can be a force for good and help get the world back on track to achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, she said.

“The other reason for optimism is all of you here in the room and joining online – youth. As the most tech-savvy generation of young people in history, you are poised to lead on the digital economy,” Trankmann said.

She added that today’s youth are digital natives, with the passion to create innovative solutions, drive social progress and inspire change for a more inclusive and sustainable world.

However, she said that the digital divide needs to be narrowed so that all young people, especially those who are most marginalized, are able to adapt to the future of work.

Trankmann said that it is estimated tens of millions of future jobs, such as coding, software development and big data analysis, will require advanced digital skills, so it is essential to ensure that the digital economy does not widen divides and deepen inequalities. All young people should have access to learning the skills required for the jobs of the future, she added.

Fu Zhenbang, vice president of All-China Youth Federation, said that the digital economy has reshaped industries across the world and changed the global economic structure.

“China attaches great importance to enabling young people to further drive the development of digital economy. There are many young digital talents in the country and a large number of young entrepreneurs have started businesses in the digital economy,” he said.

“The country has prioritized narrowing the digital divide between urban and rural areas, so all young people in China have access to the internet and the benefits brought by digital technologies and the digital economy.”