China's role crucial to fostering new growth
An augmented reality music show is held during the Light of the Internet Expo to enhance visitors' experience. [Photo/Xinhua]
China has surprised the world with its impressive development of the internet sector and rapid emergence as a leader of the global digital economy, said foreign experts and business leaders, who emphasized the importance of international cooperation in the internet sector.
Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a Brussels-based international association that promotes digital and internet cooperation, said China's netizens have outnumbered those in other countries for 11 years straight, reaching 829 million by the end of 2018.
"China's internet development has been an indisputable success. China's homegrown tech juggernauts, including 'BAT' or the top three firms, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, are undisputed leaders. A fleet of startups, such as Didi, Bytedance and Pinduoduo, have joined China's internet ecosystem and provided Chinese users with a whole package of leading services," Gambardella said.
He said China has made great contributions to bridging the digital divide, bringing remarkable benefits to not only the nation but the world.
"Closer international cooperation in the internet sector is in the interest of all. We should strive for a better linked internet world with more common understanding through frequent dialogues, increasing exchanges and valuable coordination," Gambardella said.
He noted the influence of geopolitics on cybersecurity has increased significantly. So, the international community should deepen pragmatic cooperation, strengthen coordination and promote the establishment of new norms for global cybersecurity.
"China has rapidly emerged as a global leader in the consumer-driven digital economy. The next wave of digital transformation in China is likely to lead to the restructuring of value chains and boosting of productivity through broader adoption of digital technologies by businesses," said Sha Sha, senior partner of consulting firm McKinsey & Company and managing partner of McKinsey Digital Asia.
While digitization of industries in China still lags the United States by a considerable margin, the gap is narrowing fast, Sha said. Over the past 12 to 18 months, there has been a surge in the formation of ecosystem partnerships and alliances among companies, leveraging advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and big data.
"We look forward to engaging in a diverse, dynamic exchange of ideas with tech and industry leaders at this year's World Internet Conference, on how to create substantial value in China through tech-enabled transformation," Sha said.
Stephen Mellor, chief technical officer for the Industrial Internet Consortium, said China's internet and tech companies develop very rapidly. "Apart from retail operations such as Alibaba's, there have been great advances in AI, using it for facial recognition."
Founded in March 2014, the IIC aims to bring together organizations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the industrial internet by identifying, assembling, testing and promoting best practices.
Mellor explained the biggest gains in the internet sector will come from the intersection of sectors such as energy and transportation, or energy and manufacturing, or even energy and health in the future.
"International cooperation in the internet sector is critically important. Supply chains and value chains are global, so we must work hard to ensure that standards and regulations do not fragment," he said.