The “14th Five-Year” plan outlines the blueprint for the development of the digital economy in the next five years. Against this backdrop, the top-level design will be further specified with major policies to be implemented such as the “14th Five-Year” digital economy special plan, the policy document on promoting the “Internet +” in the new era, the new infrastructure building plan for the “14th Five-Year”. Meanwhile, local governments are stepping up plans for major digital economy projects in the next five years focusing on key areas such as big data and artificial intelligence to create an internationally competitive digital industry cluster. The professionals in the industry are convinced that the digital economy will see a new round of booming development with multiple favorable policies. It is expected that digital industries such as cloud computing and big data to drive more than 60 trillion RMB of economic output during the “14th Five-Year Plan” as a stronger driver for economic development.
Major projects in the digital industry are launched
On March 29, major projects in the first quarter of 2021 were launched in Sichuan Province, with a total investment of 799.4 billion RMB, including 34 new infrastructure projects such as 5G base stations and big data centers. On March 17, 48 major projects in Wenzhou kicked off, with a total investment of 74.6 billion RMB, of which 24 are high-quality industrial projects such as digital economy and intelligent manufacturing, accounting for 62% of the investment.
In the first year of the “14th Five-Year Plan”, local governments launched major digital economy projects in succession. At the same time, plans for digital industry projects in key areas such as big data and artificial intelligence in the next five years have been outlined in multiple areas.
On March 22, Zhejiang Province issued the “14th Five-Year Plan” for major projects in the province (draft for comments), outlining the in-depth implementation of the digital economy “Project One Version 2.0” during the “14th Five-Year Plan”. The provincial plan also focused on cloud computing and big data with 11 major projects of a planned total investment of 185.1 billion RMB. Fujian Province previously proposed to add more than 4 trillion RMB for the digital economy by the end of the “14th Five-Year Plan”, accounting for close to 60% of GDP; it will build more than 100 high-level digital innovation platforms and several digital industries with distinct features.
This is only part of the blueprint for digital economy in China for the next five years. The outline of the “14th Five-Year Plan” proposes to foster new advantages in the digital economy. In 2025, the added value of the core industries of the digital economy will account for 10% of GDP. The outline intends to accelerate the promotion of digital industrialization and enhance emerging digital industries such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, cloud computing, and cybersecurity.
Experts are convinced that the development of digital industries such as cloud computing and big data are key to the new engines of digital economy during the “14th Five-Year Plan”. Gao Yingmai, director of the Digital Transformation Research Office of the Institute of Information Technology and Software Industry of China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID), stated that the rapid growth of emerging digital industries such as cloud computing, big data, and artificial intelligence far exceeds that of traditional manufacturing, which provides new impetus for economic growth. During the “14th Five-Year Plan” period, the government will cultivate and develop emerging digital industries with multiplying effect of technology and data empowerment, providing sustaining impetus for the innovation and development of digital economy.
Yu Xiaohui, president of the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology (CAICT), told reporters that digital industrialization is one of the key areas for creating new advantages in the development of digital economy during the “14th Five-Year Plan”. As the new generation of information and communication technology enters the blooming stage of application, new digital technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence are emerging from time to time, leading to a more complete industrial production system. It is expected that digital industries such as cloud computing and big data to drive more than 60 trillion RMB of economic output during the “14th Five-Year Plan”.
Major favorable policies to be released
The “14th Five-Year Plan” outlines the building and development of the digital economy in the next five years. On this basis, multiple departments have recently taken actions to strengthen the top-level design of the digital economy with a series of major favorable policies to be formulated.
The National Development and Reform Commission stated that the “14th Five-Year” digital economy special plan will be established to strengthen the innovative application of key digital technologies, accelerate the advancement of digital industrialization and industrial digitization, improve the digital governance system, and enhance digital services. In addition, relevant departments are conducting research on policies to promote the “Internet +” in the new era, providing strong policy guidance for the key areas of the integration of digital economy and real economy, and further driving its growth in the society.
New infrastructure is the foundation for consolidating the development of the digital economy. It is reported that the “14th Five-Year” plan for new infrastructure is in drafting stage, which will accelerate the building of a collaborative innovation system of national integrated big data centers and promote the green and high-quality development of data centers and 5G networks. In addition, Yang Xiaowei, deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said at the press conference of the State Council Information Office a few days ago that the “14th Five-Year” National Plan of Information Technology is being formulated, including speeding up the optimization and upgrading of information infrastructure and accelerating the large-scale deployment of 5G networks, making proactive technological preparation for 6G network, and comprehensively promote the large-scale deployment of IPv6 applications.
In terms of industrial development, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology stated that it will focus on the seven key digital economy industries and ten digital application scenarios listed in the “14th Five-Year Plan” outline, prioritize its efforts on applications to promote industries such as big data, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, cultivate an open-source ecosystem and create a digital industry cluster with international competitiveness.
Local governments have also actively promoted the acceleration of the digital economy during the “14th Five-Year Plan”. For example, Hunan Province proposes to have the added value of the core industries of the digital economy account for 11% of the region’s GDP by 2025, and establish national leading areas in digital economy innovation, industrial cluster zones and application pilot zones. Zhejiang Province intends to have the added value of the core industries of the digital economy take up for 15% of the regional GDP, creating a global digital transformation hub.
Accelerate deep integration with the real economy
According to experts, the digital economy will see a new round of booming development with multiple favorable policies. Meanwhile, the integration of the digital economy and the real economy is expected to be improved, and the potential of the digital economy should be further tapped.
“On the supply side, the current digital products and services are still in their incubation period, the new business format is not diversified, the interaction is to be improved, the profit model is still being explored, and the role of new drivers is to be strengthened.” Gao Yingmai believed that the next step is to adhere to dual drives and prioritize integration. In promoting digital industrialization, we will strive to make breakthroughs in basic core technologies in key areas, cultivate leading enterprises with strong leadership in the ecosystem, develop digital industrial clusters, and create new competitive advantages in digital industries such as 5G, cloud computing, and big data. In accelerating industrial digitization, we will give full play to the advantages of large scale of data resource and rich application scenarios, take the integration of new generation of information technology and various industries as the priority, further explore the information consumption needs of various subjects, accelerate the innovation of application and model in traditional industries and support the development of new business formats and models.
Sun Ke, deputy director of the Policy and Economic Research Institute of the CAICT, remarked that new infrastructure such as 5G, industrial Internet, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things is still in its infancy, and the foundation for digital transformation should be consolidated. Few deployments throughout the entire manufacturing process in the ecosystem is made, and the ability to provide users with complete solutions is not sufficient. The software and hardware integration of digital transformation is expected to be further improved.
In this regard, Sun Ke said that the focus, difficulty, and key to promote the integration of the digital economy and the real economy all lie in the manufacturing industry. It is necessary to consolidate the digital foundation of the manufacturing industry, actively promote the digital transformation of enterprises, and expand the digital application of all areas. China will stick to the priorities of intelligent manufacturing, accelerate the innovation and development of the industrial Internet, develop new digital models and formats such as intelligent manufacturing, service-oriented manufacturing, and large-scale customization, and continue to expand the new horizon for the development of the digital economy.
(Source: CCPIT / Economic Information Daily)