Economic Watch: China advances digital trade to fuel economic growth

Source: Xinhua| 2020-09-07 14:52:29|Editor: huaxia

BEIJING, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- China has set its sights on the rapidly developing digital economy and digital trade to fuel economic development and seek higher-level opening-up.

At the ongoing China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, products and services in the telemedicine, online education, digital entertainment and other industries have attracted significant attention from visitors.

Themed "Global Services, Shared Prosperity," the CIFTIS runs from Sept. 4 to 9 and has attracted about 100,000 attendees, with 18,000 enterprises and institutions from 148 countries and regions taking part.

For China, digital trade will surely help advance its opening-up to a higher level, said vice commerce minister Wang Bingnan while addressing a forum at the CIFTIS.


China's digital economy has achieved leapfrog development, said Xiao Yaqing, minister of industry and information technology, at the forum.

He said that the digital economy has become an important support for China's high-quality economic development, as evidenced by the statistics.

In 2019, the country's digital economy hit 35.8 trillion yuan (about 5.23 trillion U.S. dollars), accounting for 36.2 percent of GDP.

Last year, China's digital trade totaled 203.6 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 26 percent of the country's total trade in services and up 6.7 percent year-on-year, said Wang.


As a digital wave driven by the new generation of information and communication technologies gains momentum, the digital economy and digital trade have become new engines for global economic development.

"Data have become the most important trading resource after capital goods," said Huai Jinpeng, a senior official with the China Association for Science and Technology.

He added that digital technologies play an increasingly important role in the services trade, and digital trade is the future of trade development.

Digital technologies allow for easier market entry and increased product diversity, making it easier for firms to produce, promote and distribute their products at lower costs, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in its 2018 World Trade Report.

The WTO predicted that trade could grow yearly by 1.8 to 2 percentage points until 2030 as a result of falling trade costs, said the report.

It added that the share of services in global trade is projected to grow to 25 percent in 2030, as services in the composition of trade are expected to increase in importance.


In order to drive growth in China's digital economy and digital trade, Xiao said efforts will be made to draw up plans on the development of big data, software, information communication and other industries, accelerate the construction of digital infrastructure, promote the large-scale commercial use of 5G, and push ahead with the establishment of industrial internet big data centers.

China will deepen its opening-up and cooperation, strengthen international exchanges, and offer "China wisdom" and a "China plan" for global digital economic development, said Xiao.

Wang said the Ministry of Commerce will further clarify the development orientation of China's digital trade, put forward digital trade strategies and measures suited to China's national conditions, and create a governance environment conducive to the development of digital trade.

Li Daokui, director of the Academic Center for China's Economic Practice and Thinking of Tsinghua University, said China needs to further strengthen intellectual property rights and privacy protection, safeguard public security in the digital age, and seek innovative forms of cooperation with other countries. Enditem