A big electronic screen displays some information about Zhejiang province in Wuzhen, Dec 12, 2015. [Photo/IC]
The city of Wuzhen in South China's Zhejiang province, which is hosting the two-day second World Internet Conference from Wednesday, could become a permanent venue for the WIC. Neighboring Hangzhou may be called the "capital of e-commerce in China", but Wuzhen, too, has been home to flourishing e-business. Last year, the town's GDP reached 2.7 billion yuan ($418.2 million), much higher than that of similar-sized towns.
That 70 percent of Wuzhen residents are employed in the service sector, rather than the industrial sector, has helped keep the town's environment relatively clean and its landscape beautiful. It has improved the local economy as well.
Wuzhen's success shows how the Internet can make the economic transformation of a city or town or a country possible without harming the environment. By coordinating the labor forces and other social resources, Wuzhen allows its residents to offer and enjoy tailored services. Wuzhen, therefore, has shown how enough jobs can be created for China's huge labor force.
But to realize that goal, China must become an Internet power, as President Xi Jinping has said time and again.
Indeed, China has great Internet potential. According to China Internet Network Information Center report, the number of active Internet users in China increased by 18.9 million in the first half of this year to reach a total of 668 million. The large number of Internet users in China has not only influenced domestic and global cultures, but also shown the world Chinese people's astonishing consumption capability.
This year's Singles' Day (Nov 11) consumption carnival saw the total sales on domestic e-commerce platform tmall.com reach 91.2 billion yuan, more than five times that of Black Friday in the United States. This best explains how China's large number of netizens and their consumption make the country a major force in e-commerce and on the Internet. The Internet is a decentralized world, with the number of a country's netizens playing a big role in spreading its global influence. More than 20 percent of the world's Internet users are in China, which is the main reason for its incomparable influence in the virtual world.
But China is far from being an Internet power, because issues like insufficient intellectual property rights protection and lack of innovative and creative ideas are still to be resolved.
Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of domestic Internet company Sougou, said at a recent conference that China has deficiencies when it comes to the Internet, which could make it fall behind in global competition. The warning should be heeded, and all parties have to fulfill their duties to transform China into an Internet power.
Besides, the government needs to update its governance philosophy in the Internet age by, for example, putting greater emphasis on IPR protection and better interacting with netizens. Also, enterprises need to be more creative instead of only imitating examples. In order to flourish, China's Internet enterprises must invest more energy and resources in research and development and abandon the old habit of following in the footsteps of their foreign counterparts.
Research and educational institutions, too, need new thinking because China requires a generation of new, innovative Internet talents, and it is responsibility of the institutions to educate and cultivate more such talents.
In other words, only with the joint efforts of all sectors of society can China become an Internet power.
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