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Bridging digital divide for stronger ties

By CHENG YU | China Daily | Updated: 2022-11-08 09:28


2022 summit to help make internet 'a new frontier' for cooperation, focusing on win-win scenarios in cyber world

During a time when COVID-19-related uncertainties and impeded globalization darken growth prospects worldwide, one trend is brightening both industries and people's livelihoods — digitalization.

The world has become more digitalized than ever, experts said, be it working from home, remote schooling or industrial transformation. But at the same time, the digital divide between leading economies and emerging markets has been further widened, they said.

So how do we narrow the digital divide around the globe? And what do governments and businesses need to do to ensure that digitalization comes out on top?

As President Xi Jinping said in July, China stands ready to work with the international community to build a cyberspace that is fairer and more equitable, more open and inclusive, safer and more stable, and more vibrant, and to allow the internet to enrich the people even more.

The remarks were made in a congratulatory letter from Xi on the founding of the World Internet Conference, which turned into a permanent international organization in July.

The conference, which aims to serve as a platform to narrow the digital divide and contribute to global governance in cyberspace, has been held for eight consecutive years since 2014. This year, its Wuzhen Summit will kick off in East China's Zhejiang province, on Wednesday.

"It is hoped that the conference will help make the internet a new frontier for all parties to cooperate and continue to create more convergence of interests, growth points of cooperation and new highlights of win-win scenarios in cyberspace," said Ren Xianliang, secretary-general of the WIC, at a recent news conference.

"All parties around the world are expected to join hands to build a cyber world where human beings coexist, jointly create a digital future of win-win cooperation and make cyberspace better for all peoples of the world," Ren said.

Ren said nearly 2,000 representatives from governments, international organizations, industry associations, internet enterprises, universities, think tanks and research institutes from over 120 countries and regions will attend the summit, both online and offline.

Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a think tank, said, "China is playing an increasingly important role in promoting global internet sharing and co-governance, and hosting the World Internet Conference just offers an important opportunity for the world to enhance cooperation in the internet and digital field and deepen understanding between countries."

The three-day event will also involve leading internet and technology firms from both home and abroad, including Baidu Inc, Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group. They will attend and showcase their cutting-edge digital technologies, products and solutions.

This year, cybersecurity firm 360 Security Group will bring its digital security smart solutions to the summit while Chinese smartphone maker Vivo will unveil a new technology that enables information transmission between smartphones and vehicles. Japanese electronics maker Seiko Epson will also showcase its latest augmented reality glasses.

Wang Gang, head of the publicity department of the Zhejiang Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, said that rising cutting-edge technologies, like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality as well as the metaverse, will be used at the venues, exhibition areas and scenic spots to offer an interactive experience.

"New trends and some hot topics, such as digital infrastructure, the global development initiative, bridging the digital divide, artificial intelligence and digital ethics, will also be featured during the event," Wang said.

Tian Tian, CEO of RealAI, a Tsinghua University-backed, Beijing-based AI company, said that the summit is "timely and meaningful" in addressing AI safety and ethics.

"The world is moving from an information society to an intelligent society, and AI has become an important driving force for a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation," he said.

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