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Nation shines in digital
Last Updated: 2017-12-04 08:51 | China Daily
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Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, visits a self-service supermarket during the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, on Dec 3, 2017. ZHU XINGXIN/CHINA DAILY

Businesses laud leadership's backing for technology-driven progress

China's growing openness and its digital economy's continuing impetus to social and economic development are big positives, business executives and experts said.

Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder and chairman of Airbnb China, a vacation home-rental platform, said President Xi Jinping's congratulatory message to the 4th World Internet Conference on Sunday showcased the open and supportive attitude of the country's leaders toward the digital economy as well as the increasingly pioneering role China plays in innovation.

"We want to continue working closely with the government, industry, businesses and the public in China, and believe that technology can bring the country and the world closer and promote people-to-people exchange," Blecharczyk said.

The key message from the conference is to bring the world together through candid exchange, dialogue and partnership, said RJ Pittman, chief product officer of eBay Inc.

"We are cheered by this repeated emphasis on creating a fair and just internet environment, with a special focus on international cooperation," said Pittman.

He also underlined the significance of cross-border e-commerce in driving international trade and promoting equality.

It is also a topic that Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau, touched upon in his address to the event.

One promising initiative on this frontier is the digital Silk Road. That is, accelerating internet infrastructure to develop artificial intelligence, big data and sharing economy, said Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a nonprofit organization promoting digital and internet cooperation.

Xi is a leader who will "make China thrive in the digital age, while his speech touched on strengthening infrastructure networks and developing advanced manufacturing through the integration of the internet, big data and artificial intelligence", Gambardella said.

The government has given digital players space to experiment before enacting regulation and is now becoming an active supporter, said Jonathan Woetzel, a director of the McKinsey Global Institute. He identified China as a "global leader" in the digital economy.

The leaders' speeches are clear signs that Beijing has flagged digital economy as "an intrinsic source" to drive macroeconomy, said Shen Yi, head of the Cyberspace Governance Research Center at Fudan University.

Shen said China's leadership is adding substance to the governance and future of the internet, through introduction of concrete steps, with the private sector exerting a centripetal force.

"The speeches show China's unprecedented level of openness and the commitment to voluntarily abide by international standards," he said.

Agreed Huang Zhixiong, deputy director of the Institute of International Law at Wuhan University. "By respecting cybersovereignty and upholding cybersecurity, the country can bring dividends of internet development to its people and the rest of the world."

Wang Keju contributed to this story.

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