China’s digital economy is booming

The digital economy is becoming a key force in restructuring global factors and resources, reshaping the global economic structure and changing patterns of global competition. We should continue to balance the overall strategy of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with delivering unforeseen changes in the world of the century to strengthen, improve and expand China’s digital economy.

China’s digital economy is booming. In recent years, China’s digital economy has always shown a steady and sound development trend, and its industrial scale has continued to grow rapidly, remaining the second largest in the world for several years. From 2012 to 2021, the scale of China’s digital economy has increased from 11 trillion yuan to more than 45 trillion yuan. Its share of GDP has risen from 21.6% to 39.8%, with an average annual growth rate of 15.9%. In 2021, the added value from the digital economy in 47 major countries reached US $38.1 trillion, of which China’s digital economy reached US $7.1 trillion, accounting for 18.5 percent of the total of 47 countries. The digital industry is maintaining a good growth momentum. In the first half of this year, ecommerce, online education, telemedicine and other forms of “contactless economy” have accelerated in growth. Digital technology like big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are increasingly introduced into manufacturing, energy, medical, transportation, education, agriculture and other industries. As of late June this year, the industrial Internet network has covered 45 major categories of the national economy, and the industrial Internet’s high-quality external network has covered more than 300 cities. In 2021, China’s online retail sales of physical goods exceeded 10 trillion yuan for the first time, with a year-on-year growth of 12.0%; the mobile payment business was worth 151.228 billion, with a year-on-year growth of 22.73%. It is not difficult to see that the digital economy has become the new growth driver of China’s economy. The “14th Five-Year Plan” and the long-term goal of 2035 have further put forward the requirements of accelerating China’s digital development, emphasizing the need to deepen the integration of the digital economy with the real economy, to activate the potential of data elements, and build a digital China. It can be expected that China’s digital economy will usher in greater development in the future.

In recent years, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to the development of China’s digital economy. Under vigorous promotion by various departments and regions, the development of China’s digital economy has incessantly shown a steady and positive development trend, and the industrial scale continues to grow rapidly. A series of achievements have been made in improving modern infrastructure construction, promoting the integrated application of information technology into manufacturing industries, developing and expanding the digital industry, releasing the potential of data factors, strengthening digital economy governance, and deepening international cooperation. These are mainly reflected in the following aspects:


  1. The overall strength of the new infrastructure has reached a new level.

China has built the world’s largest and technology-leading network infrastructure. By the end of May 2022, all prefecture-level cities have fully implemented the optical network, with over 50 million gigabit users and over 420 million users 5G mobile phone users. The application of “5G + industrial Internet” continues to become more widespread. By the end of June this year, the industrial Internet usage has covered 45 categories of the national economy, while the industrial Internet’s high-quality external network covers more than 300 cities.

  1. The integration of the digital economy and the real economy has become increasingly mature.

The “comprehensive” + characteristic “+ professional” platform system has basically taken shape. At present, more than 150 platforms have a certain degree of industrial and regional influence, and the total number of industrial equipment interlinking key platforms exceeds 78 million sets as platform innovation and ecology development continues to flourish. We have implemented intelligent manufacturing projects, incubated more than 6,000 solution suppliers, have a service coverage of more than 90% of the manufacturing sector, and boosted the market satisfaction rate of intelligent manufacturing equipment to exceed 50%. New scenarios, new models and new business forms such as unmanned intelligent inspection, digital factories and smart mines are flourishing.

  1. Key digital industries continue to grow.

In 2021, the added value of digital manufacturing industries above designated size increased by 15.7% over the previous year, the growth speed of which reached the highest in nearly 10 years; the business revenue of software and information technology services, Internet and related service enterprises maintained a rapid growth rate of 17.7% and 16.9% respectively.

  1. The release of data factor potentials have 

The “Work Plan for Implementing National Standards for Enterprise Data Management” was issued, and a number of pilot areas for implementing national data management capacity were selected to encourage enterprises to improve their data management capabilities and improve the supply quality of data elements. We will guide local governments to actively explore the market for data factors and accelerate the stimulation of the value potential of data factors.

  1. Positive results have been achievedin digital economy governance. The Data Safety Law and the Personal Information Protection Law have been launched successively. The “14th Five-Year Plan for Digital Economy Development” has been officially issued, and the policy system is being continuously optimized. We have formulated and promulgated the “Measures for the Management of Data Security in the Industrial and Information Field (Trial)”, organized basic telecommunications enterprises to carry out the work of data security standards implementation, and guided more than 600 enterprises to carry out self-evaluation of data security compliance. We will intensify efforts to crack down on telecom and Internet fraud, and carry out special campaigns such as “card-breaking 2.0” and “scam tackling” to effectively ensure the safety of people’s property.
  2. International cooperation in the digital economy continues to deepen.We will take the “Belt and Road initiative” as an opportunity to strengthen cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road routes in cyber infrastructure development and cyber security, and promote the establishment of a shared cyberspace  We have initiated and joined a series of international cooperation initiatives and agreements such as the “Belt and Road Digital Economy International Cooperation Initiative”, to actively carry out bilateral and multilateral digital governance work, and promote the establishment of an open, fair and non-discriminatory digital business environment.
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