Guangdong’s digital economy is the largest in the country

On September 2nd, Guangdong held the “Guangdong Theme Day” event at the 2023 China International Service Trade Fair, where they announced the achievements of building the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a global digital trade leader.

As China enters the era of the digital economy, Guangdong stands out as both a strong trading province and a digital powerhouse, with its digital economy being the largest in the country. The construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a global digital trade leader focuses on the digital transformation of trading entities and the digitization of the entire trading process, aiming to strengthen digital trade capabilities. This initiative is anchored by two phased goals and includes six major tasks.

In the first phase, by 2025, the goal is to develop a digital trade ecosystem driven by new formats, characterized by networked sharing and intelligent collaboration. The digital application rate among trading entities should surpass 80%, and cross-border e-commerce and digital trade should reach a scale of trillions of yuan. In the second phase, by 2035, there will be a significant leap in digital innovation leading trade development. The goal is to achieve the full digital transformation of the entire industry chain and value chain for foreign trade, positioning Guangdong as a global leader in high-quality trade development.

Guangdong is truly embracing the opportunities of the digital age and is committed to driving forward the digital transformation of trade.

The six main tasks are: promoting the digital transformation of trade entities, accelerating the digital empowerment of the entire trade chain, leveraging digitalization to lead the development of new trade formats, enhancing the digitalization level of service trade, improving the public service system for trade digitalization, and promoting innovation in the governance of trade digitalization.

Currently, the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a global trade digitalization pioneer zone has been fully launched, and initial results have been achieved:

——The digital transformation of trade entities is continuously upgrading. There are currently 100 leading digital trade companies in Guangdong Province, with 10 digital public service platforms for foreign trade under construction. Six market procurement trade interconnection information platforms have been established and are operational. Cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Zhuhai are accelerating their digital transformation, with 28 companies selected as leading enterprises in China’s digital services and service outsourcing for 2022. Five companies have been included in the list of China’s top ten unicorn enterprises released by the Hurun Research Institute in April 2023.

——The digitalization process of the trade chain is accelerating. The international trade “single window” enables data sharing among more than 20 regulatory departments, including customs, inspection and quarantine, border control, taxation, and foreign exchange. Local applications with distinctive features have already reached 12 major categories and 34 items. The provincial-level port logistics collaborative platform enables real-time information sharing among government agencies, ports, shipping companies, import and export enterprises, and intermediaries, thus achieving paperless “last mile” customs clearance. By 2022, the Shenzhen Cross-border Trade Big Data Platform aims to integrate export values of enterprises, reaching 1.7 trillion yuan, accounting for 42.5% of the total import and export value of the Shenzhen Customs District that year.

——The digital transformation has played a significant role in driving the development of new forms of trade. The advantage of achieving comprehensive coverage of cross-border e-commerce pilot zones in Guangdong has led to rapid digital development in major cities such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Foshan, with a market value of billions of dollars. From January to July 2023, the province’s cross-border e-commerce imports and exports reached 481.8 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 140%. In Guangzhou, a local public service platform for cross-border e-commerce has been established, consisting of 26 functional sections, with over 3,000 registered companies. The daily import and export volume is nearly 3 million tickets, accounting for approximately 1/7 of the national volume. The scale of cross-border e-commerce imports has ranked first in the country for nine consecutive years.

——Digital Trade Industry Cluster Development. Guangzhou has gathered over 20,000 digital service companies, forming advantageous clusters in financial services, business services, digital marketing, digital music, animation, and more. This has accelerated the development of emerging fields such as artificial intelligence, biomedicine, smart energy, and new-generation information technology. Shenzhen has formed a digital economy ecosystem mainly focusing on modern services. Dongguan and Foshan have accelerated the development in areas such as intelligent manufacturing, robotics, and integrated circuit design.

——The digital infrastructure is constantly improving. Guangdong Province has built over 280,000 5G base stations, with a user base of over 75 million households, maintaining its position as the first in the country in terms of base station quantity and user scale. The province has achieved high-level construction of a fully optical network, ranking first in the country in terms of optical ports and user scale. Guangzhou and Shenzhen have been selected as national “dual-gigabit” cities. The Nansha branch of the National Supercomputing Guangzhou Center has become the first in the country to provide “point-to-point” cross-border fiber optic network dedicated lines, offering supercomputing services exceeding 200 million core hours to over 200 Hong Kong, Macau, and overseas research user teams, including the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the University of Hong Kong.

——The continuous promotion of the integration of service trade rules in the Greater Bay Area is underway. Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau are enhancing standard connectivity, qualification recognition, and data sharing. Guangzhou has launched a list of 72 items for rule integration with Hong Kong and Macau, while Shenzhen has announced the first batch of 20 items in 6 fields that facilitate the practice of overseas professional qualifications, attracting over 600 professionals from Hong Kong and Macau. There are also pilot projects for cross-border circulation of research data, such as the establishment of a dedicated data channel for research between the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology’s Guangzhou Nansha campus and its main campus in Hong Kong.


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