The number of China's 5G base stations and users are both growing rapidly as the push for digital construction progresses, laying a solid foundation for China's digital economy and high-quality development, experts said.
The number of 5G base stations reached 2.73 million as of the end of April, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced on Wednesday, as the construction of 5G networks progressed steadily.
The number of 5G users in China reached 561 million as of the end of 2022, accounting for more than 60 percent of the world's total, according to a report on the development of Digital China 2022, released by Chinese cyberspace authorities on Tuesday.
The number of terminal users of the mobile Internet of Things (IoT) reached 1.845 billion, making China the first major economy to have more IoT users than the whole population.
The 5G sector is an important base for China's informatization and digital economy, Wang Peng, a research fellow at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
"The rising number of 5G bases and users is conducive to the development of relevant application scenarios, so we can incubate more enterprises, and achieve more technological innovation and business model innovation, forming a positive cycle," Wang said.
The digital economy is becoming an important engine driving China's steady growth and transformation, according to the Digital China 2022 report.
In 2022, China's digital economy reached 50.2 trillion yuan ($7.13 trillion), a nominal increase of 10.3 percent year-on-year, and its share of GDP rose to 41.5 percent, ranking second in the world.
Digital technology is increasingly integrated with the economic and social development of daily life, Wang said.
"5G, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies can create jobs and also improve quality and efficiency in traditional industries," Wang added.
As of the end of 2022, the rate of informatization in agricultural production had exceeded 25 percent. The items purchased online accounted for 27.2 percent of retail sales, a record high, according to the report.
Experts said China's digital development will further accelerate under the blueprint of digital China construction issued in February.
According to the guideline, by 2025, the digital infrastructure will be efficiently connected through a broad range of sectors, and China will become a global leader in digital innovation. By 2035, the level of digital development in China will enter the forefront of the world.
This year, the deployment of 5G maybe further optimized to cover more rural areas. In addition, the development and commercial application of 6G will also be further improved, Wang said.