China is willing to cooperate with other nations in developing the digital economy and advancing healthy economic growth on a global scale, President Xi Jinping said on Thursday.
"We are currently in a period of gathering momentum for a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, with rapid changes in the new generation of information technology represented by the internet, big data and artificial intelligence," Xi said in a letter to the first Smart China Expo, being held in Chongqing.
Countries should jointly promote integrated development of both the digital economy and the real economy, Xi added.
The president emphasized that China attaches great importance to innovation-driven development and is firmly committed to its new vision for development by accelerating the industrialization of the digital economy and digitization of industries.
In July last year, the State Council issued a plan that set bench marks for the nation's AI sector, with the value of core AI industries predicted to exceed 1 trillion yuan ($147 billion) and make the country the global leader of AI innovation by 2030.
Pan Jianwei, a leading scientist in quantum computing at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the discipline will lay a solid foundation for AI and big data development.
"Many years ago, China realized the importance of quantum information and began conducting research," he said. "We hope to build a secure network with quantum key distribution in five to 10 years."
Pony Ma, chairman of internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, said that thanks in part to strong government support, China is accelerating its digitalization process, with the virtual economy becoming increasingly intertwined with manufacturing, public management and the lives of people.
"We are ready to run a 'digital marathon'. More effort is needed to encourage fundamental scientific research and cultivate homegrown core technologies," Ma added.
A recent report from Tsinghua University said China has become the most attractive country for AI investment. The market value of the AI industry reached 23.7 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) in 2017, with the growth rate expected to reach 75 percent in 2018.