An AI logistics vehicle, developed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, undergoes a road test in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo by He Chuang/For China Daily]
China's technology firms have seen explosive growth and new breakthroughs promises more to com
Government officials, business executives and experts hailed the role of the internet in empowering the digital economy, saying it is pivotal to driving economic and social development.
In a forum during the ongoing Fifth World Internet Conference, participants touted the internet as a key driving force for improving people's lives and regarded the conference as a sharing and cooperation platform that helps promote technological innovation and industrial upgrading.
Held in Wuzhen of Zhejiang province, the event will last until Friday.
"As today's most innovative and dynamic sector, the internet is profoundly changing people's production and daily lives," Zhuang Rongwen, minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said on Wednesday. "Turning the world into a connected global village, the internet is injecting fresh vigor into innovative development."
According to Zhuang, more efforts are needed to advance fundamental research, make breakthroughs in core technologies, foster the sustainable development of cutting-edge internet technologies, build up the industrial ecosystem, strengthen international cooperation, and build a digital world of mutual trust and governance.
Powered by blossoming artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing and other technologies, China is gradually transforming into a leading global internet powerhouse.
Statistics from the China Internet Network Information Center show the rapid growth of the booming internet trend: China's netizen population hit a new high, reaching 802 million by the end of June this year.
In 2017, the country's digital economy amounted to 27.2 trillion yuan ($3.9 trillion), ranking No 2 globally and accounting for 32.9 percent of national GDP, according to a recent report released by the Cyberspace Administration of China.
The achievement was lauded by Neil Shen, global managing partner of Sequoia Capital, who said: "There was a time when Chinese startups were imitators and not innovators. Now the times have changed. Buoyed by the booming mobile internet in the last ten years, Chinese internet firms are now at the forefront in terms of innovation and leading business models, extending into more businesses than their foreign counterparts."