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Experts hail Xi's call as nod to digital-growth link

By FAN FEIFEI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-21 09:15

A visitor experiences a simulated bobsled ride using VR equipment during an industry expo in Beijing. [Photo by CHEN XIAOGEN/FOR CHINA DAILY]

President Xi Jinping's call to promote sound development of the digital economy in China demonstrates that cutting-edge digital technologies, such as big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, are playing an increasingly important role in driving the country's economic growth, industry experts said on Wednesday.

In a speech delivered at a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Monday, Xi said that the digital economy has become a key force in restructuring the global economy and transforming the global competitive landscape in recent years.

He called for efforts to strengthen and expand China's digital economy through promotion of in-depth integration of digital technologies with the real economy and use of such technologies to transform traditional industries and create new industries and business types.

Long Haibo, a senior researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, China's Cabinet, underlined that Xi's speech showcased the supportive attitude of the country's leaders toward the digital economy, which plays a vital role in unleashing the growth potential of the economy and bolstering the transformation and upgrade of traditional industries.

"Cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and the industrial internet are gaining momentum and speeding up to integrate with the real economy," Long said.

China's digital economy was worth nearly $5.4 trillion last year, ranking second in the world. That represented a year-on-year growth of 9.6 percent, the fastest in the world, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government think tank.

Jiang Han, a senior researcher at market consultancy Pangoal, said developing the digital economy is of great significance for cultivating new driving forces and promoting high-quality development.

China needs to work hard on key and core technologies, achieve high-level self-reliance and self-improvement as soon as possible, and maintain autonomy in developing the digital economy firmly in its own hands, Xi said.

Xi also urged more efforts to improve the governance system of the digital economy as well as related laws, rules and policies.

Long agreed that more efforts are needed to make breakthroughs in core and basic technologies, expand the industrial application scenarios of leading technologies as well as strengthen the protection of data security and personal information.

Li Wei, deputy head of cloud computing and big data research at the CAICT, said the digitalization of enterprises serves as the cornerstone of the digital economy, and enterprises should speed up the pace of digital transformation and integrate online and offline channels.

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc said artificial intelligence has become an important force to spearhead the rapid development of the digital economy. It believes that only by maintaining continuous investment in technological innovation can it be a strong global competitor.

The company will continue to innovate, make breakthroughs in key technologies, strive to achieve self-reliance in science and technology and promote the deep integration of AI with industry.

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