Hooked on va­p­ing

Global Times US Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

China’s econ­omy has been in­creas­ingly bol­stered by its dig­i­tal econ­omy which is ar­guably a global trail­blazer, in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tives and ob­servers said on Wed­nes­day at the fifth World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence in Wuzhen, East China’s Zhe­jiang Prov­ince.

The an­nual gath­er­ing of in­ter­net ex­perts in the pic­turesque city of Wuzhen show­cases tech­nol­ogy so­lu­tions and lead­ing-edge uses of the in­ter­net that are help­ing bol­ster eco­nomic growth and im­prov­ing peo­ple’s lives. The con­fer­ence runs from Wed­nes­day to Fri­day.

The world is go­ing through a broader and deeper science and tech­nol­ogy rev­o­lu­tion and in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tion, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said in a con­grat­u­la­tory let­ter sent to the con­fer­ence, ac­cord­ing to the Xinhua News Agency.

“We should speed up the de­vel­op­ment of the dig­i­tal econ­omy and pro­mote the global in­ter­net gov­er­nance sys­tem to ad­vance in a just and more rea­son­able way, so as to in­ject new im­pe­tus to the world econ­omy,” read Xi’s let­ter.

As the world goes through a new round of tech­no­log­i­cal and in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tive change, the Chi­nese gov-

ern­ment has, over the past few years, made ef­forts to push for the In­ter­net Plus strat­egy and de­velop its so-called dig­i­tal econ­omy, Ten­cent Hold­ings Chair­man and CEO Pony Ma Hu­ateng said in his speech at the open­ing of the con­fer­ence. These ef­forts have helped to lay a solid foun­da­tion for the in­cor­po­ra­tion of in­ter­net tech­nolo­gies into var­i­ous in­dus­tries and sec­tors, said Ma.

Ma also said Ten­cent is work­ing on plans to de­velop a vir­tual re­al­ity form of its su­per app WeChat. He of­fered no other de­tails.

WeChat’s built-in apps and in­de­pen­dently de­vel­oped mini-apps were named to this year’s list of World Lead­ing In­ter­net Sci­en­tific and Tech­no­log­i­cal Achieve­ments, which was re­leased at the con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day. Other com­pa­nies whose prod­ucts and ser­vices made the list in­clude Huawei, Ama­zon and Tesla.

The coun­try’s vi­brant dig­i­tal econ­omy is be­lieved to have given a big boost to its econ­omy, with Ten­cent’s Ma say­ing mini-apps alone helped cre­ate 1.04 mil­lion jobs in 2017.

Shar­ing in­ter­net gov­er­nance

In an­other sign of the coun­try’s ris­ing promi­nence in in­te­grat­ing emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies into the lives of Chi­nese peo­ple, Shen­zhen-based au­ton­o­mous driv­ing startup Road­star.ai, whose self­driv­ing ve­hi­cles have been seen roam­ing the streets of Wuzhen, un­veiled its newer-gen­er­a­tion self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy at the con­fer­ence.

The com­pany plans to pro­duce 1,000 to 2,000 self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles in part­ner­ship with do­mes­tic and for­eign car­mak- ers and put them into com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion in 10 cities across China by 2020, ac­cord­ing to Heng Liang, co-founder of the com­pany that spe­cial­izes in level four au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nolo­gies. A self-driv­ing ve­hi­cle at level four re­quires no hu­man in­ter­ven­tion in most driv­ing sit­u­a­tions.

The com­pany is also con­sid­er­ing putting its self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles on the roads of cities in Ja­pan, Europe and the US, but de­tailed plans have yet to be worked out, Heng told the Global Times.

Apart from im­pres­sive tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances, in­dus­try ob­servers noted that China is play­ing a greater part in im­prov­ing global gov­er­nance of the in­ter­net sphere.

“The cre­ation of a com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture is not some­thing that just in­volves the real world but in­creas­ingly re­lates to cy­berspace, and China could carry the ball in global in­ter­net gov­er­nance,” Cheng Maiyue, di­rec­tor of the Wuzhen In­sti­tute, an in­ter­net in­dus­try think tank, told the Global Times on Wed­nes­day.

Al­low­ing greater open­ness in China’s in­ter­net sphere would also fa­cil­i­tate the shar­ing of its sci­en­tific and tech­no­log­i­cal achieve­ments around the world, said Cheng. Ad­di­tion­ally, the coun­try should push the use of smart tech­nolo­gies to bet­ter en­sure cy­ber se­cu­rity, paving the way to be­come a trail­blazer in global in­ter­net gov­er­nance, noted Cheng, who is also the for­mer part­ner of US-based Rocky Moun­tain In­sti­tute.

China could share its ex­pe­ri­ence with coun­tries and re­gions along the routes of the Belt and Road ini­tia­tive in fos­ter­ing in­ter­net de­vel­op­ment to cre­ate more rea­son­able global in­ter­net gov­er­nance, said Cheng.

Photo: VCG

The dig­i­tal age is ex­plained us­ing an im­age in the shape of a brain dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion at the 5th World In­ter­net Con­fer­ence held in Wuzhen, East China’s Zhe­jiang Prov­ince on Wed­nes­day.

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