An unmanned supermarket in Tianjin. (Photo/Xinhua)
The digital economy is predicted to become an important channel of employment by 2025, as it reshapes China’s employment landscape and creates new business models including e-commerce, mobile payment and sharing economy.
In 2017, jobs brought by the digital economy in China reached 171 million, accounting for 22.1 percent of the country’s total employment for the same period, among which, more than 120 million workers were employed in the digitized tertiary industry, according to a white paper issued by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Sun Chengkun, a full-time driver for an online ride-hailing platform, said that the digital economy secured the job for him. Now he can earn an additional 5,000 yuan each month. Ride-hailing platforms attract many full-time drivers like Sun and part-time drivers, helping them find jobs or increase their income.
On the other hand, new businesses such as unmanned stores and shelves are replacing existing ones at a quickening pace, posing challenges to human labor. Application of industrial robots also reduces employment demand. A study by the World Economic Forum shows that 7 million employees, including ordinary white-collar workers and blue-collar workers, will be replaced by 2020.
Wang Fengqin was a spare parts production worker. She lost her job this year due to her employer implementing robots. Recently, she has taken a two-month computer training course to find a new job with a higher salary and adapt to the trend of the digital economy.
By 2025, with the continuous expansion of the digital economy, national digital literacy will have reached the average level of developed countries, the scale of digital talents will have steadily increased, and the digital economy field will have become an important channel to provide employment, stated the Guiding Opinions on Developing the Digital Economy to Stabilize and Increase Employment, issued by China’s 19 ministries including the National Development and Reform Commission.