Oct 20, 2021 03:49 PM

Xi Jinping’s Remarks on the Sound Development of China’s Digital Economy

President Xi Jinping delivers a speech Monday on the digital economy at a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee in Beijing. Photo: CCTV
President Xi Jinping delivers a speech Monday on the digital economy at a group study session of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee in Beijing. Photo: CCTV

Editor’s note: At a group study session of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo on Oct. 18, President Xi Jinping delivered a speech stressing the sound development of China’s digital economy. Here are the key points of his remarks during the study session.

In the speech, President Xi Jinping said, that since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC Central Committee has attached great importance to developing the digital economy, built China’s strength in cyberspace, implemented the national big data strategy, expanded the economic cyberspace, supported internet-based innovations and promoted deep integration of the internet, big data, artificial intelligence and the real economy. Beyond that, efforts have been made to build a digital China and a smart society, promote digital industrialization and industrial digitization and develop digital industrial clusters with international competitiveness. China has seen rapid digital economic development with remarkable fruits. In particular, since the Covid-19 outbreak, digital technologies and the digital economy have played a vital role in supporting the fight against the pandemic and work and life resumption.

Xi highlighted that developing the digital economy is a strategic option to seize opportunities brought by a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation. First, the healthy development of the digital economy will be conducive to the building of a new development paradigm. Digital technologies and the digital economy are able to advance the fast mobility of various resource factors and the expedited integration of diverse market entities and help market entities rebuild an organizational model so as to achieve cross-sector development, break space-time limit, extend the industry chain, and unclog domestic and international economic circulations. Second, the healthy development of the digital economy will facilitate the building of a modern economic system. The digital economy of high innovation, strong penetrability and wide coverage is not only a new economic growth point but also a pivot for the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, which can be an important engine to build a modern economic system. Third, the healthy development of the digital economy will help the country develop new competitive advantages. In the current era, digital technology and the digital economy are key areas of international competition that can provide prioritized opportunities for the global scientific and technological revolution and industrial change. China should seize these opportunities and pioneer the leading areas for future development.

Xi pointed out that efforts must be made to enhance research on core technologies in important areas and adhere to the key of independent innovation. China should give full play to the advantages of its socialist system, the new system of pooling national resources and strengths and the super-large-scale market, so as to improve the ability of basic research and development of digital technology. In addition, efforts are called for to achieve breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields and accelerate the development of biosecurity-related science and related technologies toward greater self-reliance. These efforts will help firmly grasp the autonomy of the development of the digital economy.

Xi stressed that China should speed up the construction of new infrastructure, strengthen its strategic layout and accelerate the building of a high-speed, ubiquitous, intelligent and comprehensive digital information infrastructure that integrates space and ground, and the cloud and the internet, so as to make the main structure transmitting information on economic and social development available. China will comprehensively promote industrial and large-scale applications, focus on making breakthroughs in key software, make the software industry bigger and stronger and enhance the innovation and supply capacity of key software technologies.

Xi pointed out that it is necessary to promote the integrated development of the digital economy and the real economy, grasp the direction of digitization, networking, and intelligence and promote the digitization of manufacturing, service, agriculture, and other industries. Meanwhile, internet technology should be used to carry out omni-directional and full-chain transformation of traditional industries and improve total factor productivity, thus giving full play to the role of digital technology in magnifying, superimposing and multiplying economic development. China should promote the deep integration of the Internet, big data and AI technologies with industries, and expedite its efforts to cultivate a number of enterprises that apply special, sophisticated techniques to produce unique and novel enterprises that rank top in the respective field. China should promote the development of digital industries in key areas, focus on the strategic high ground, and rely on major technological breakthroughs and development needs, to enhance the competitiveness of the industrial chains in key links, improve the supply chain systems for key industries, and accelerate the replacement of old products and services with new ones.

Xi stressed that China should regulate the development of the digital economy, insist on promoting and laying equal emphasis on the regulation of development and supervision, and in the development of regulation, and ensure the mutual promotion between development and regulation. China should improve the market-access system, the fair competition review mechanism and the fair competition regulation system to establish an all-around, multi-level, three-dimensional regulation system, thus achieving ex-ante, interim and ex-post supervision of all chains and sectors. China should correct and regulate the behaviors and practices that may harm the interests of the people and impede fair competition in the development process, prevent platform monopolies and disorderly expansion of capital, and investigate and prosecute monopoly and unfair competition cases in accordance with the law. China should protect the legitimate rights and interests of platform workers and consumers. In addition, China should intensify its efforts in tax supervision and tax audits.

Xi also pointed out that China should strive to improve the governance system for the digital economy, laws and regulations and policy systems, and institutional mechanisms, as well as raise the modernization of the country’s digital economy governance system and governance capacity. China should also improve the responsibilities of competent departments and regulatory agencies, make the division of work clear and ensure their mutual cooperation. Regulatory technology and means must be improved and enhanced to enable full-process regulation and governance for innovation, production, operations and investment. The responsibilities and obligations of platform-based enterprises should be clarified, and an industry self-regulatory mechanism should be established. Social supervision, media supervision and public supervision should be carried out to promote synergy. Efforts should be made to improve national security systems and institutions. Theoretical research on the development of the digital economy should be strengthened, and countermeasures and suggestions should be put forward on issues involving digital technology and the development of the digital economy. China should actively participate in international cooperation on the digital economy, engage in negotiations with international organizations on topics related to the digital economy, carry out bilateral and multilateral cooperation on digital governance, maintain and improve the multilateral digital economy governance mechanisms, and put forward China’s solutions and spread China’s voice in a timely manner.

Xi pointed out that, as the digital economy is relevant to the overall development of the country, it is important to put a lot of effort into the top-level design and system and mechanism building for the development of China’s digital economy, strengthen situation analysis, seize opportunities, and gain the initiative. Leading officials at all levels should improve their thinking ability and professional competence in the digital economy, build up their skills in developing the digital economy, enhance safety awareness, and promote the digital economy to better serve and integrate it into the new development paradigm. It is also necessary to improve the digital literacy and skills of all people and the whole society, thus laying a solid social foundation for the development of China’s digital economy.

The article is a translation from the Chinese readout of the president’s remarks released by the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

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