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Bilateral cooperation a highlight at intl technology fair

By SHI JING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-28 02:00

Increased cooperation between Chinese companies and those from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative was evident at the 6th China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair (CSITF) held in the city from April 19 to 21.

One example was the signing of a comprehensive cooperation agreement on the first day of the fair between the Shanghai Seres Group and Hungarian conglomerate Morgan Star Group. The two entities had pledged to jointly develop the application of cross-border financial technology and mobile payment as well as invest in new technologies.

Hungary is the first European country to sign a comprehensive cooperation memorandum of understanding related to the Belt and Road Initiative. According to the organizer of the CSITF, the cooperation between Seres and Morgan Star marks heightened cross-border technology trade between the two countries and will boost the efficiency of cross-border transactions. The cooperation will also allow Hungary's digital economy to develop at a faster pace, aiding the country's goal of building a mobile and smart payment platform based on its national financial system.

Zhong Kaitao, chairman of the Shanghai Seres Group, said the group will export its technologies related to facial, iris and fingerprint recognition and smart mobile payment systems in the long term.

Meanwhile, Guangzhou-based Cloudwalk Information Technology, which demonstrated its latest achievements in artificial intelligence during the CSITF, had signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with the Republic of Zimbabwe on March 26. It was the first time a Chinese company had reached out to an African country as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Shang Yuying, director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce, said the city has so far signed cooperation agreements with 23 countries and regions that are a part of the initiative, which has become a major factor behind the increase in Shanghai's trading activity.

The total trade volume between Shanghai-based companies and those from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative jumped 18.9 percent year-on-year to hit 659.7 billion yuan ($104.6 billion) last year, said Shang.

Also held during the CSITF this year was the Belt and Road Initiative Cross-border Cooperation Forum, which fell on April 20 — the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Day. According to Li Yong, secretary-general of UNIDO, the Belt and Road Initiative will have a profound influence on the technological cooperation between developing countries and in turn promote sustained growth of the global industry.

According to the latest report by Deloitte, investments by China's State-owned enterprises in the countries and regions that are a part of the Belt and Road Initiative will increase in the next three years, of which 33 percent will go to Southeast Asia and Southern Asia, and 14 percent to West Asia and Africa. For privately-owned enterprises, the focus will be on Southeast Asia and Southern Asia.

Jiang Ying, a partner at Deloitte China, said that companies used to invest in these areas on their own, but the trend now is for companies to invest as a consortium.

"There will be an upgrade in cooperation from manufacturing to technology innovation," she said. "Overseas industrial parks will be set up to connect government, companies, research institutes, industrial funds and agents so that the development in these areas will be greener, smarter and more collective."

Wang Jing, deputy director of Pudong new area, said the Belt and Road Initiative has become a major driving force for economic integration in Asia at a time of increasing uncertainties in the global economy.

"Technological revolution and industrial change are profoundly changing the world economic development pace," she said. "We should make preparations in terms of innovation and intellectual property rights so that we can advance the Belt and Road Initiative to a higher level."

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