The State Grid, China’s biggest electricity distributor, has announced plans to invest 24.7 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) in digital infrastructure in 2020 amid efforts to revitalize the economy with investment in “new infrastructure” that supports tech-based projects.
In order to promote the implementation of the investment plan, the State Grid has signed strategic cooperation agreements with several tech companies including Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and Huawei, with the goal of building digital infrastructure in the energy sector including big data centers, the industrial internet, 5G networks and artificial intelligence (AI).
The announcement about the investment plan comes a month after Premier Li Keqiang highlighted the role of “new infrastructure” in China’s drive to accelerate the tech-powered structural upgrade of its economy in his government work report delivered during the annual “Two Sessions” political meetings.
In April, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s top economic planner, defined “new infrastructure” as including information-based infrastructure such as 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT), convergent infrastructure supported by the application of the internet, big data and AI; and innovative infrastructure that supports scientific research, technology development and product development.
Over the last two months, China’s major tech companies have expressed enthusiasm for participating in “new infrastructure” development by rolling out their respective investment blueprints.
Alibaba has promised to invest 200 billion yuan in its cloud infrastructure over the next three years to help businesses embrace digitalization. Tencent followed suit with plans to pour 500 billion yuan into high-tech areas of cloud computing, AI, blockchain, IoT and 5G networks over the next half-decade.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)