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'Four waves' push China, ASEAN toward greater digital cooperation: media

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-11-25 13:30

The 19th China-ASEAN Expo, or CAEXPO, is held from Sept 16-19 in Nanning in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/VCG]

As three major global summits concluded in Southeast Asia, digital economy governance has become an international focus. In this encouraging environment, four "great waves" are pushing China and ASEAN toward greater digital cooperation, South China Morning Post reported Wednesday.

On the back of the 20-year global digital economy development miracle, ASEAN has made phenomenal achievements.

Last year, the digital economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations reached $174 billion and is expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2030.

The first wave is the region's huge and attractive market. Southeast Asia has a population of more than 680 million people with a median age of just 30.2 years, and over 440 million are internet users.

Since the pandemic began in 2020, more than 60 million digital consumers have been added.

Last year, ASEAN's six major digital economies - Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia - grew by 49 percent.

This vast market has attracted investments from China's digital giants. Tencent, for example, has been investing in Sea Limited, Southeast Asia's most prominent digital company, since 2010.

Alibaba also acquired shopping platform Lazada in 2016 and has made two investments so far this year of $1.3 billion in total. Lazada now has grown into a popular shopping platform with more than 150 million users among six Southeast Asian markets.

ASEAN's social needs are the second great wave of propelling digital cooperation with China. As the world leader in digital economy applications, with experience in capital investment and operation management, China is an ideal partner for ASEAN.

The country also has an innate "closeness" with ASEAN members due to geographical and cultural reasons.

Positive government policies are the third wave promoting China-ASEAN digital cooperation. China expressed interest in deepening digital cooperation through the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership 2030 Vision.

By the end of 2020, China had launched an initiative to formally establish a digital economy partnership with ASEAN. Both sides adopted the joint statement on strengthening common sustainable development at the 25th China-ASEAN Leaders' Meeting,

ASEAN governments, such as Singapore and Malaysia, have also embraced the digital economy and rolled out their own development blueprints in the sector.

The emergence of a new regional and global digital governance order is the fourth wave that boosts China-ASEAN digital cooperation. ASEAN may be a latecomer to the digital economy, but it comes with its unique style.

ASEAN members constructed digital cooperation networks with different countries to ensure the full use of global digital resources.

Integrating these waves to form a synergy is very important, not only to the success of China-Asean digital cooperation but also to how global digital governance can achieve the goal of technology for good, digital for good.

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