China, Thailand, Laos and other countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative on Dec 3 underlined the need for sustained efforts to expand broadband access and improve the quality of telecommunication infrastructure.
They also agreed to step up efforts toward building an interconnected Digital Silk road as part of the Belt and Road digital economy international cooperation initiative.
The digital initiative was unveiled at the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, which opened on Dec 3 and will close on Dec 5.
Representatives said the countries concerned will allocate more resources to build infrastructure for regional communication, internet connectivity, satellite-based navigation services and information traffic.
Lin Nianxiu, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, said digital economy is playing an increasingly important part in driving global development.
“We will strengthen cooperation to explore cutting-edge technologies and to accelerate digital transformation, so that rapid tech advancements can benefit people in every country,” Lin said.
China is working hard to build a digital silk road so that innovation could drive the Belt and Road Initiative.
A report by Boston Consulting Group forecast that as information technologies continue to revolutionize industries like retail, entertainment, finance and manufacturing, the country’s digital economy will reach about $16 trillion by 2035, up from $1.4 trillion in 2015.
Bounsaleumsay Khennavong, Laos’ vice-minister for posts and telecommunications, said the initiative to deepen cooperation in digital economy will bring new growth potential and create a community of shared interests.
Khennavong said he expects more companies from China and other countries to partner with Laos in the information communication technology sector.
The countries also called for deepening cooperation in fields like e-commerce, internet-based entrepreneurship and innovation. They stressed efforts to collectively leverage digital opportunities to support micro businesses, and small and medium enterprises.
They agreed to work together to create a transparent policymaking mechanism for digital economy and promote cooperation in drafting and implementing international standards.
Sun Pishu, chairman and CEO of Inspur Group Co Ltd, a major server maker and big data company, said the Belt and Road Initiative is not only about connecting ports, railways and highways but freeing up the flow of information and data, to enhance digital links among the economies.
“China is one of the most sophisticated IT markets and the largest data producer in the world,” Sun said. “Our four decades of experience in building information infrastructure is of great value to other developing countries and regions.”
In November, Inspur formed an alliance with global tech giants and Chinese financial institutions to provide IT solutions to economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.