The Overall Layout Planning of Digital China Construction

Recently, the CPC Central Committee and The State Council issued the Digital China Construction Overall Layout Plan (hereinafter referred to as the“Plan”), and issued a notice, requiring all regions and departments to conscientiously implement in accordance with the actual situation.

The “Plan” points out that the construction of digital China is an important engine for promoting the Chinese-style modernization in the digital era and a strong support for the construction of new national competitive advantages. Accelerating the building of a digital China is of great significance and far-reaching influence on the comprehensive building of a modern socialist country and comprehensively advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

The “Plan” emphasizes the need to adhere to Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, particularly the important ideas put forward by General Secretary Xi Jinping regarding building a strong cyber country. It calls for the thorough implementation of the spirit of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, adhering to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, and fully, accurately, and comprehensively implementing the new development concept. It aims to accelerate the establishment of a new development paradigm, focus on promoting high-quality development, coordinate development and security, strengthen a systemic mindset and bottom-line thinking, enhance overall planning, and follow a strategic path of consolidating foundations, empowering the entire nation, strengthening capabilities, and optimizing the environment. The goal is to comprehensively enhance the integrity, systematicity, and synergy of building a digital China, promote deep integration between the digital economy and the real economy, drive transformation in production, lifestyle, and governance through digitization, and inject strong impetus into the comprehensive advancement of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese characteristics of modernization.

According to the “Plan”, by 2025, a coordinated and integrated development pattern with horizontal connectivity, vertical integration, and strong coordination will be established, and significant progress will be made in the construction of Digital China. The digital infrastructure will be efficiently connected, the scale and quality of data resources will accelerate, the value of data elements will be effectively unleashed, and the quality and efficiency of digital economic development will be significantly enhanced. The level of digitalization and intelligence in government affairs will be noticeably improved. The construction of digital culture will reach new heights. The digital society will achieve significant results in precision, inclusiveness, and convenience. The construction of digital ecological civilization will make positive progress. There will be major breakthroughs in digital technology innovation, and global leadership in application innovation. The comprehensive capacity for digital security protection will be significantly enhanced, and the digital governance system will be further improved. New dimensions of international cooperation in the digital field will be opened.

By 2035, the level of digital development will enter the forefront of the world, and significant achievements will be made in the construction of Digital China. The systematic layout of digital construction in China will be more scientific and comprehensive, and digital development in various fields such as the economy, politics, culture, society, and ecological civilization will be more coordinated and fully supportive of the comprehensive construction of a socialist modern country.

The “Plan” clearly states that the construction of Digital China will be laid out according to the “2522” overall framework. This framework consists of two fundamental aspects: the solidification of digital infrastructure and data resource systems, and the deep integration of digital technology with economic, political, cultural, social, and ecological civilization development, known as the “Five-in-One” approach. Additionally, it emphasizes the strengthening of the digital technology innovation system and the establishment of robust digital security measures, referred to as the “Two Capacities.” Furthermore, it highlights the optimization of both the domestic and international environments for digital development.

The “Plan” points out that to solidify the foundation of Digital China construction, the first step is to establish a smooth flow of digital infrastructure. This includes accelerating the coordinated construction of 5G networks and gigabit optical networks, promoting the scale deployment and application of IPv6, advancing the comprehensive development of the mobile Internet of Things, and vigorously promoting the widespread application of the Beidou Navigation System. The infrastructure layout for computing power will be optimized, promoting efficient complementarity and coordinated linkage between eastern and western regions, and guiding the reasonable and hierarchical distribution of general data centers, supercomputing centers, intelligent computing centers, edge data centers, and others. The overall level of application infrastructure will be enhanced, and traditional infrastructure will be digitized and transformed into intelligent infrastructure.

The second step is to facilitate the large-scale circulation of data resources. This involves establishing a national data management system and mechanism and improving the coordination and management institutions at all levels. Public data will be aggregated and utilized, and national data resource repositories will be built in important areas such as public health, science and technology, and education. The value potential of commercial data will be unleashed, accelerating the establishment of a data ownership system, conducting research on data asset valuation, and establishing mechanisms for the participation and distribution of data elements based on their value contribution.

The “Plan” emphasizes the comprehensive empowerment of economic and social development. Firstly, it aims to strengthen, optimize, and expand the digital economy. This includes nurturing and expanding core digital industries, formulating measures to promote the high-quality development of the digital industry, and building internationally competitive digital industrial clusters. It also aims to promote deep integration between digital technology and the real economy, accelerating digital technology innovation and application in key sectors such as agriculture, industry, finance, education, healthcare, transportation, and energy. Support will be provided for the development and growth of digital enterprises, establish mechanisms for innovation collaboration among large, medium, and small enterprises, play a guiding role in investment cases, and promote the standardized and healthy development of platform enterprises.

Secondly, it focuses on developing efficient and collaborative digital governance. This involves accelerating institutional and regulatory innovation, improving regulations and systems that are compatible with digital governance construction. Efforts will be made to enhance digital capacity building, promote interconnectedness of information systems and networks, facilitate on-demand data sharing, and ensure efficient collaboration of business processes. The “Plan” also aims to improve the level of digital services, advance the “once-only” principle in government service delivery, promote online and offline integration, and strengthen and regulate the management of mobile internet applications in government services.

Thirdly, the “Plan” aims to create a confident and prosperous digital culture. It emphasizes the development of online culture, strengthening the supply of high-quality online cultural products, and guiding platforms and internet users to produce positive, healthy, and uplifting online cultural products. The “Plan” also promotes the digital development of culture, implements the national digital culture strategy, establishes a national cultural big data system, and builds a Chinese cultural database. Enhancing digital cultural service capabilities is also a focus, with the aim of creating comprehensive digital cultural display platforms, accelerating the development of new cultural enterprises, cultural formats, and cultural consumption patterns.

Fourthly, it seeks to build an inclusive and convenient digital society. Efforts will be made to promote the inclusiveness of digital public services, implement the national digital education strategy, improve the national smart education platform, develop digital health services, and regulate the development of internet-based diagnosis and treatment and internet hospitals. The “Plan” also aims to enhance precision in digital social governance, implement actions for the digital development of rural areas, and empower rural industries, rural construction, and rural governance through digitalization. Popularizing intelligent digital lifestyles is also emphasized, with the aim of creating smart and convenient living circles, new digital consumption formats, and future-oriented intelligent immersive service experiences.

Lastly, the “Plan” focuses on constructing a green and intelligent digital ecological civilization. It promotes smart environmental governance, accelerating the construction of an intelligent and efficient ecological environment information system, utilizing digital technology to promote integrated protection and systematic governance of mountains, rivers, forests, farmlands, lakes, grasslands, and deserts. This includes improving the three-dimensional “one-map” of natural resources and the basic information platform for land space, as well as constructing a smart water conservancy system centered around digital twin river basins. The “Plan” also aims to accelerate the digital transformation towards green and coordinated development, and advocate for green and intelligent lifestyles.

The “Plan” points out the need to strengthen key capabilities for Digital China. Firstly, it emphasizes the establishment of a self-reliant and innovative digital technology system. This involves improving a new nationwide system for key core technology breakthroughs under the conditions of a socialist market economy and strengthening the deep integration of industry, academia, and research led by enterprises. It aims to enhance the role of enterprises as the main force in technological innovation and leverage technology-oriented backbone enterprises to lead and support the development. Additionally, it emphasizes the importance of strengthening intellectual property rights protection and establishing mechanisms for the distribution of intellectual property rights transformation benefits.

Secondly, it highlights the importance of building a reliable and controllable digital security barrier. This entails effectively safeguarding network security and improving the legal and regulatory framework and policies related to network security. It also involves enhancing data security capabilities, establishing a basic system for data classification and hierarchical protection, and improving the monitoring, early warning, and emergency response systems for network data.

The “Plan” points out the need to optimize the environment for digital development. Firstly, it emphasizes the construction of a fair and standardized digital governance ecosystem. This involves improving the legal and regulatory system, strengthening legislative coordination, researching and formulating legislative plans for the digital field, and timely adjusting legal systems that are not suitable for digital development through proper procedures. It also includes establishing a technical standard system, developing guidelines for digitalization standards, and accelerating the formulation and revision of application standards for digital transformation and cross-industry integration in various sectors. Enhancing governance capabilities and establishing a comprehensive network governance system to ensure comprehensive and multidimensional governance, creating a scientific, efficient, and orderly network governance framework. Efforts will be made to purify the online space by conducting in-depth work on network ecosystem governance, promoting special campaigns for a “clean and pure” internet, and innovating the development of online civility.

Secondly, it aims to construct an open and mutually beneficial international cooperation pattern in the digital domain. This involves coordinating and planning international cooperation in the digital field, establishing a multi-level, multi-platform, and multi-stakeholder international exchange and cooperation system in the digital domain. It aims to build a high-quality “Digital Silk Road” and actively develop “e-commerce along the Silk Road”. Expanding the space for international cooperation in the digital domain, actively participating in digital cooperation platforms under multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations, World Trade Organization, G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, BRICS countries, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization. It aims to build new platforms for open and cooperative development in the digital domain, and actively participate in the establishment of international rules related to cross-border data flow.

The “Plan” emphasizes the need to strengthen overall planning and coordination to ensure the implementation of various tasks. First, it emphasizes the strengthening of organizational leadership. It calls for upholding and strengthening the Party’s comprehensive leadership over the construction of Digital China. Under the centralized and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, the Central Committee for Cybersecurity and Informatization will strengthen overall coordination, promote the comprehensive advancement, and ensure the implementation of Digital China. Local Party committees’ committees for cybersecurity and informatization should play their roles effectively, establish sound coordination mechanisms, prioritize digital development in their respective regions, and fulfill their responsibilities. Relevant departments should fulfill their responsibilities according to their division of labor, improve policies and measures, enhance resource integration and synergy, and work together.

Second, it emphasizes the need to improve institutional mechanisms. It calls for the establishment of a sound coordination mechanism for the construction of Digital China to timely address major issues in digital development, promote interdepartmental collaboration and coordination, and ensure the implementation of major tasks and projects. It also proposes conducting monitoring and evaluation of the development of Digital China and using it as a reference for assessing and evaluating relevant party and government leaders.

Third, it emphasizes the need to ensure funding. Innovative ways of supporting funding should be explored, and overall guidance should be provided for various types of funding. National platforms for industry-finance cooperation should be utilized to guide financial resources to support digital development. Encouragement and guidance should be given to the regulated participation of capital in the construction of Digital China, and an investment and financing system should be established for effective participation of social capital.

Fourth, it emphasizes the need to strengthen talent support. It calls for enhancing the digital thinking, digital literacy, and digital skills of leaders and civil servants. It suggests coordinating the establishment of a batch of disciplines and professional fields related to digital technology and cultivating innovative, applied, and interdisciplinary talents. A comprehensive system should be built to promote the development of digital literacy and skills for the entire population and the integration of urban and rural areas.

Fifth, it emphasizes the need to create a favorable atmosphere. It calls for the participation of universities, research institutions, and enterprises in the construction of Digital China and the establishment of research bases. Comprehensive pilot projects should be carried out to integrate and promote reform experiments. Major events such as the Digital China Summit and high-profile domestic and international competitions in the digital field should be organized to promote the popularization of digital concepts and create a good atmosphere of widespread attention and active participation in the construction of Digital China throughout society.


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