Infrastructure, interconnectedness improvements to unleash potential
Greater efforts are needed to improve digital infrastructure connectivity and bolster the digital transformation and upgrading of industries among countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, so as to unleash the huge potential of the digital economy, government officials and business executives said.
Speaking at the high-level forum on digital economy at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Wednesday in Beijing, they highlighted that the digital economy is playing an increasingly vital role in promoting global economic recovery and achieving inclusive and sustainable growth.
The digital economy has become an important engine driving global economic development and transformation, said Cai Qi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
He said China will adhere to the path of peaceful development and promote the construction of the Digital Silk Road in a deep and solid way, so that the achievements of the digital economy will benefit people from all over the world.
Zhuang Rongwen, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, stressed the need to bolster the in-depth integration of the digital economy with the real economy, and accelerate the industrialization of digital technologies and the digital transformation of industries, so as to inject strong impetus into social and economic development.
A greater push is needed to speed up digital infrastructure construction in developing countries and underdeveloped regions to bridge the digital gap, reinforce the communication and coordination in data security and personal information protection, and improve the governance capability of the digital economy.
The digital economy is booming across the globe. New industries and forms of business buoyed by innovative digital technologies like big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are finding a wide range of applications across various industries and integrating with the real economy.
"The Belt and Road Initiative has built strong digital interconnections among nations, creating ties that offer prosperity for our region and beyond, contributing to the global landscape of growth and cooperation," said Wisit Wisitsora-at, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand.
He noted this digital interconnection would bring significant advantages to the region, drawing it closer together through high-quality infrastructure construction and investment.
"The initiative will play an important role in enhancing Thailand's digital infrastructure as the central hub of the region by connecting neighboring countries through the submarine cable, which is a crucial step toward the success of high-speed internet access and connectivity in regional, subregional and remote areas," he added.
Amr Ahmed Samih Talaat, minister of Communications and Information Technology of Egypt, said in an exclusive interview with China Daily that he is delighted to see the information and communications technology sector as one of the most active sectors in the cooperation between China and Egypt, which helps drive the digital transformation of Egypt.
The two countries have carried out cooperation in a wide range of fields, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and natural language processing, he said, adding "in the imminent future, we plan to continue the cooperation and widen its scope".
"Generative AI is a very important topic and has emerged lately on the ICT arena, and all countries are busy trying to exploit generative AI to the best of the technology capabilities so far," he added. "It is a very important work stream for cooperation between China and Egypt in the ICT sector."
Boviengkham Vongdara, minister of Technology and Communications of Laos, said his country is working with the Chinese government to speed up the construction of data centers and promote the development of the digital economy in Laos.
He said China and Laos are expected to further promote the training of talent in the digital economy, and the construction of ICT centers and data centers in Laos.
Chinese companies are ramping up efforts to accelerate the construction of digital infrastructure in the BRI economies. China Tower Corp, a mobile communication infrastructure company that runs almost all of the country's telecom towers, has set up the Southeast Asia Tower Company, to bolster the communication infrastructure building in Laos.
Song Hailiang, chairman of China Energy Engineering Group Co, said the company has stepped up investment in solar, wind and hydropower in the BRI economies, and accelerated its digital transformation and upgrading by leveraging cutting-edge digital technologies, such as big data and digital twins.