A staff member checks equipment at a data center of China Mobile in southwest China's Guizhou Province, May 24, 2022. (Xinhua/Ou Dongqu)
China has achieved initial success in new infrastructure construction, which has greatly facilitated the country's social and economic development over the past decade, officials said Monday.
Zhang Zhihua, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said China has quickened its steps in upgrading information infrastructure as well as advancing infrastructure integration and innovation.
The length of China's optical fiber network has increased 2.7 times over the past decade, and the number of data center racks has topped 5.9 million, Zhang told a press conference.
Smart devices are being integrated into various industries and businesses such as transport, energy supply, and industrial production, as well as facilities concerning people's well-being like e-commerce, telemedicine, and online education, he said.
In terms of innovation, Zhang said up to 32 of China's planned 77 major national science and technology infrastructure projects have been put into operation, while centers on engineering research, enterprise technology, and industrial innovation are being set up across the country.
Zhang particularly mentioned advancement in China's "east data, west computing" project, a mega data project launched in February this year and designed to have the country's less developed inland regions store and process data transmitted from economically advanced eastern areas.
In the "initial areas" of the project, construction has started on more than 60 new data centers, which involves over 1.1 million standard racks and over 400 billion yuan (about 56.9 billion U.S. dollars), he said, noting that the proportion of data centers in the western region has increased steadily.
Song Wen, an official with the National Energy Administration, revealed that with the energy sector seeking a faster shift to digital, internet-based, and smart-tech models, progress has been made in fields such as smart grid, mining, and power generation, as well as energy storage.
The coverage rate of China's power distribution automation system has exceeded 90 percent by 2021, and the country has seen the completion of over 800 smart mining sites and a number of "5G plus" smart thermal power plants, according to Song.
Zhang said new infrastructure has greatly empowered China's economic and social development by offering sustained support to new technology exploration, effectively backing the development of the digital economy and fully facilitating the improvement of people's well-being.
"While each round of scientific and technological revolution introduces new infrastructure, each round of infrastructure construction would bring in an upgrade in economic transformation," he said, voicing optimism in the prospect of new infrastructure investment.
With more supporting financial and fiscal policies in place, China will move faster to kick off a number of new infrastructure projects, according to Zhang.
He said to further support these projects, the NDRC will boost efforts to enhance coordination and planning, increase spending and shore up the weak links.
Works will be done to improve the basic networks in the medium and small cities in the central and western regions, bridge the digital gap, and make industrial and supply chains more resilient, with priority given to new infrastructure that meets the public's urgent needs and stimulates the real economy, he said.