Report sees nation as digital trade leader

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China is moving steadily toward front-runner status in the development of digital trade, fueled by the booming internet use, and the emergence of big data, cloud computing and other new technologies, according to a new report.

Report sees nation as digital trade leader

After years of development of digital technologies, China is now among the world’s top 10 countries for digital trade.

The country has ranked first in the globe in terms of total cross-border e-commerce retail export value as well.

This came to light on Wednesday at the release of the report at a forum of the China International Big Data Industry Expo 2021, which runs from Wednesday to Friday in Guiyang, Guizhou province.

The report, published by the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC), which is part of the Ministry of Commerce, said digital trade mainly encompasses digitally enabled transactions of trade in goods, services as well as data factors, which helps promote the transformation of global industrial, supply and value chains and improve efficiency in the production and operation of enterprises.

During 2020, COVID-19 necessitated rapid development of new forms of digital businesses such as online meetings, telecommuting, e-commerce, mobile payments, cloud services, online games and online healthcare services in China, said Li Jun, director of the department of international trade in services of the CAITEC.

Li said the emerging digital technology solutions and digital trade will drive the digital transformation of traditional sectors, including construction and transportation, and inject new impetus into economic recovery.

Citing the new report, Li said more efforts are also needed to gain a competitive edge. China should accelerate the building of a digital trade platform system, open up wider to the outside world, help expand the overseas market and improve data governance and free flow of cross-border data.

Buoyed by the government’s supportive policies and China’s blossoming information and communication technologies, China’s digital trade is growing rapidly. Data from the Ministry of Commerce showed the volume of China’s import and export digital trade surged 6.7 percent to $203.6 billion in 2019, accounting for 26 percent of the country’s total import and export service trade volume.

“Embracing a new round of global technological revolution and industrial transformation, (we’ve seen) accelerated transformation in cross-border e-commerce and other types of trade,” said Zhang Wei, deputy head of the CAITEC. “With the rapid development of new forms of digital services such as digital content, search engines, social media, cloud computing and digital payments, digital trade has become the frontier of international cooperation and competition.”

Citing the Technology and Innovation Report 2021 by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Zhang noted 11 cutting-edge technologies such as AI, the internet of things, big data, blockchain and 5G as a whole are projected to create a market worth over $3.2 trillion by 2025.

China, the world’s second-largest economy, has been ramping up efforts to grasp the new growth opportunities in those new types of technology-driven businesses, Zhang said.

“China’s digital trade has maintained strong momentum in recent years … However, we also need to realize that China still lags behind developed countries in terms of core competitiveness, internationalization level and digital governance,” Zhang said.

Looking ahead, Zhang said China needs to make a big push to strengthen the top-level design of digital trade development, and actively participate in the negotiation and formulation of international rules and make breakthroughs in key digital technologies.

Fueled by booming new technologies and the government’s supportive policies, the digital economy is gradually becoming the key driver of China’s economic development.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s big data sector registered a compound annual growth rate of more than 30 percent during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), earning 1 trillion yuan ($156.7 billion) in its annual sales in 2020.

Zhou Yuan, managing director and senior partner of Boston Consulting Group, spoke highly of China’s considerable progress in digital economic development, saying key big data hubs such as Guizhou province should better grasp the rising growth opportunities in digital services.

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“To better boost the development of digital trade, more efforts are needed to participate in the formulation of new digital rules and standards, boost industrial upgrade and promote deeper integration of manufacturing and services,” Zhou said.

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Source : China | Photocredit : Google

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