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China to enhance digital ties with more countries

By ZHONG NAN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-07-12 08:10

A visitor experiences Gongti Metaverse livestreaming during the Global Digital Economy Conference 2023 in Beijing on July 5. DU JIANPO/FOR CHINA DAILY

China is committed to collaborating with all parties concerned, particularly developing countries, to promote digital connectivity for the larger goals of global economic growth and international development, a senior government official said.

Acknowledging imbalances in global digital connectivity and relatively weak digital infrastructure in certain countries, Zhong Haidong, vice-chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency, called for more efforts in the field of infrastructure to increase support for communication network infrastructure such as 5G, the internet of things, satellite-based access to the internet, cross-border networks and industrial internet in developing countries.

Addressing a sub-forum of the First High-Level Meeting of the Forum on Global Action for Shared Development in Beijing on Monday, Zhong highlighted China's capacity to provide assistance in technology and services. This assistance aims to accelerate the digital transformation of various sectors, including public services, transportation, energy, education and Customs, and promote the overall development of smart cities in countries and regions requiring support.

China has been actively promoting the transformation of traditional connectivity toward digitalization, intelligence and networking. This has led to friendly cooperation with developing countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific, where China has demonstrated successful practices in smart and interconnected development, CIDCA said.

For instance, Chinese businesses such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp have helped countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Uganda, Mozambique, Guyana, Kenya and Laos to build internet-connected classrooms, national broadband, e-government networks and e-commerce platforms.

Noting that development requires cooperation, and cooperation relies on connectivity, Zhong said China is willing to work hand in hand with other countries around the world to provide a new engine for inclusive growth and digital transformation through smart and interconnected development.

Supporting this view, Ivan Acosta Montalvan, Nicaragua's minister of finance and public credit, said these technologies will also bridge the development gap between urban and rural areas.

He highlighted the transformative potential of interconnectedness in the field of education, enabling less developed nations to achieve progress simultaneously with developing economies.

Ahsan Iqbal, Pakistan's minister of planning, development and special initiatives, emphasized his country's commitment to prioritizing various domains such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, automation, robotics, big data and cloud computing.

"The Pakistani government intends to foster collaboration between the country's academia, industry and research institutions and their Chinese counterparts, to bolster Pakistan's innovation capacity and competitiveness," he said.

In addition to facilitating the development of digital infrastructure in developing countries, it is equally important for Chinese companies to assist local communities in nurturing talent, promoting standardization in the digital field and supporting the growth of cross-border e-commerce, said Fang Qiuchen, president of the Beijing-based China International Contractors Association, which helps Chinese companies secure business in overseas markets.

Other business leaders expressed similar views. Sun Liqiang, assistant president of Beijing-based China Communications Construction Co Ltd, said the group will continue to strengthen "new infrastructure "businesses. It aims to harness technology to drive ongoing digital transformation and promote smart transportation industry in both home and overseas markets.

"New infrastructure" refers to critical facilities based on information technologies like 5G, AI, the industrial internet and IoT, which describes networks of devices that can connect and exchange data.

Sun said China Communications Construction is adopting a number of digital solutions in the Pasay Harbour Reclamation Project, a 265-hectare land reclamation on the municipal waters of Pasay in the Philippines.

"These technologies enable us to aggregate and integrate crucial data related to the project's location, trajectory, operations and alerts," he said. "This effective integration addresses challenges during the construction process, making it a prime example of small and medium-sized dredging and reclamation projects in overseas markets."

Cao Baogang, president of China Railway Construction Corp's overseas business unit, said the group will enhance ties with markets involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, focusing on the application of information technologies and digital solutions throughout the entire process and life-cycle of infrastructure projects.

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