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CEOs share their views on China's digital future

2018-11-09Source: China Daily   Cheng Yu, Liu Yukun and Ma Si

Editor's Note: China has witnessed rapid growth in a wide range of industries due to the advancement of internet and information technologies in recent years. China Daily reporters Cheng Yu, Liu Yukun and Ma Si interviewed top executives of well-known companies attending the Fifth World Internet Conference for their views on the prospects of China's internet sector and their key takeaways from this year's conference. Their answers to the following questions are given below.

Q1: How do you see the role of the World Internet Conference? How does your company benefit from the annual meeting?

Q2: Which aspects of the conference inspired you most and why? What are your key takeaways from this year's conference?

Q3: How do you view the future of China's internet sector? How will your company better tap into the booming industry and its increasing integration with artificial intelligence?

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Pony Ma Huateng, chairman and CEO of Tencent Group. [Photo/China Daily]

A1 The World Internet Conference has been held five times so far. It is the epitome of China's thriving progress from being a big internet country to becoming a strong internet power. The conference opens up a window for the world to understand China, and for China to step out into the world. It also acts as an important global stage to listen to Chinese voices and insights, and furthermore, to gather international consensus. It plays a vital role in promoting the further opening-up of the country's internet as well as international cyberspace governance.

During these past five years, Tencent has been devoted to being a good "connector", hoping to provide different industries with abundant "digital interfaces" to enter into a "digital world". This has made positive contributions to China's digital economy and meanwhile driven the company's breakneck development pace.

A2 The theme of this year's World Internet Conference, "Creating a digital world of mutual trust and governance", has inspired me. With the development of internet-based digital platforms, digital technologies are intertwining with the life of every individual, company or organization, and are forming a "community of a shared future in cyberspace".

This requires us to be more active in taking on responsibilities, as being responsible for the community means being responsible for yourself, and being responsible for yourself is also being responsible for the shared community.

A3 The digital economy has grown to become the most dynamic economic phenomenon worldwide. It has also become a new driver of the country's high-quality development. Digitalization and informatization is integrating ever-more deeply with various industries. There is still huge room for growth in China's internet development.

In line with the development of the digital economy, linking or connecting has always been Tencent's core strategy. After connecting people, digital content and services, Tencent's focus for the next step is connecting industries. Tencent will take root in the consumer internet and embrace the industrial internet.

We will continue to connect consumers. Meanwhile, we hope to promote the deep integration of suppliers with the internet, in a bid to help different industries to transform and upgrade, and to drive traditional firms to expand from manufacturing to providing consumer services.

Tencent aims to help traditional companies to move from smart retailing to smart manufacturing, and from consumption to industry, and finally to gain a lead in hardware, software and services.

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Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab. [Photo/China Daily]

A1 It (the World Internet Conference) is a very important and leading event. I can also see that China is still looking for new opportunities to make it better. I'm very glad to attend such a big event and stay in Wuzhen, such a pretty place.

I'm also very glad to see that this year's event has discussions about cybersecurity for the industrial sector. It is a very promising field and China has great potential in its development.

We really look forward to more cooperation with Chinese enterprises. Right now we are looking for partners in the industrial cybersecurity sector.

Our company has certainly benefited from the conference. We presented our techniques and products not only to many companies, which projected great business opportunities, but also to officials attending the event.

A2 Of course I am mostly inspired by discussions about industrial internet adaptations, since industrial cybersecurity has been an important focus of our businesses. Not a lot of people realize that cybersecurity for industries is a growing sector - a new but important one. What we are doing now is building the infrastructure and developing an ecosystem in this sector.

I gave a speech on Thursday about training engineers. The panel discussion made me more aware that one of the largest challenges right now is a lack of professionals and skilled engineers to build such an infrastructure and ecosystem.

Cybersecurity in industry is very complicated because the latter has various different systems. Even for two similar power plants, technologies used to guarantee their cybersecurity can be very different for many reasons, for example the power plants might have been built in different times.

Right now we don't see many trained engineers in industrial cybersecurity. As a result, the most critical thing for the sector's development for now is education. The sector needs more people and more trained professionals adapted to industrial needs. We are open to more cooperation and communication on the topic.

A3 China invests so much into cyberspace, and there's no doubt China is and will be one of the leaders of the internet globally, not only because of its big population, but because of its leading companies in the industry, such as Huawei, which have grown into global brands.

We have a lot of opportunities, and it's not only because of traditional cybersecurity, a sector which we are in and do very well, but once again, it's also about infrastructure security.

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