Yang Yang, vice-president of the All-China Youth Federation, addresses a sub-forum on online cultural exchange and sharing during the Fifth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, on Thursday. CHEN ZEBING/CHINA DAILY
Experts in Wuzhen discuss the social responsibility and potential of China's internet industry
Online culture is flourishing in China, according to Gao Xiang, vice-minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China.
Gao was speaking on Thursday at a sub-forum of the Fifth World Internet Conference on online cultural exchange and sharing in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province.
According to Gao, the number of netizens in China reached 802 million in June, 609 million of whom watch videos online.
Users of online games, livestreaming services and literature-reading platforms have each exceeded 400 million.
The market size of the online cultural industry has been expanding continuously, with online games generating revenues of 235.5 billion yuan ($34 billion) last year. Online video produced 52.1 billion yuan, livestreaming approached 40 billion yuan, online music broke 17.5 billion yuan, and online literature saw a turnover of 12.8 billion yuan.
Equally, export sales of online cultural productions are also increasing year-by-year.
As a demonstrative example of an information economy, Zhejiang province has shown great progress in the field, according to Feng Fei, executive vice-governor of Zhejiang.
By the end of 2017, the province's core digital industry accounted for 9.1 percent of its GDP, with the overall digital economy taking up more than 17 percent. The latter contributed nearly 40 percent to Zhejiang's economic growth, Feng says.
With the growing potential in content innovation, online cultural development is on the cusp of new opportunities and challenges, one of which that needs to be overcome, Gao notes, is the building of a safe and positive cyberspace where younger netizens' healthy development can be guaranteed.
As a major issue of global relevance, further cooperation between civilizations is needed to achieve this, according to Gao.
Pony Ma Huateng, chairman and CEO of Tencent Group, says the company will continue to play a leading role in the industry and shoulder its responsibilities in the area.
Ma says Tencent continues to work on safeguarding the quality of information that it handles and strengthening protections for juveniles, especially with regards to online games.
Kenneth Fok, president of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, says that the organization is building a national research institute for esports and has encouraged the participation of influential youngsters in the field to be part of the process.
Fok says it's important to let the young people involved have their voices heard and to help them find their way in the profession.
Zhou Yuan, founder and CEO of zhihu.com, a popular question-and-answer service, says the internet is more than just an aggregator of influencer culture, fan culture and utilitarianism. It's a place where participants can help each other in their areas of expertise.
Therefore, Zhou says, technological enterprises and social institutions should pay more attention to online culture and go back to the starting point of using technology to make life better.
Wang Hongyan, head of the secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China Central Committee, says the internet has been providing a broad stage for young people to participate in cultural-heritage preservation, creating quality work and promoting cultural exchanges.
Earlier this year, the online TV series, Story of Yanxi Palace, not only gripped audiences in China but also was popular in 80 other countries and regions.
Its record-breaking ratings, in the view of Wang Xiaohui, chief content officer of iQiyi, proved that the internet has not only provided its users with quality content and more convenient access, but also the potential for people to create highlighted works of popular culture and present traditional Chinese culture to a wider audience.
Ma says that Tencent has been working with key traditional cultural icons, including the Great Wall and the Palace Museum in Beijing, on product development.
Such cooperation has been extended to similar sites and organizations in Europe, too.
"Compared with developed countries, China has competitive resources and market potential in terms of its cultural industry. However, a big gap in the production model has led to poor output," Ma says, adding that the power of technology should be harnessed.