China will set up a special fund for Internet and telecommunications infrastructure to link China and Association of Southeast Asian Nations members, said Lu Wei, minister of the State Council’s Cyberspace Administration of China.
Lu made the remarks on Sept 13 during the China-ASEAN Information Harbor Forum in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, to discuss building IT infrastructure to connect China and Southeast Asia.
Lu said the fund will boost technology levels in the region and promote the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
According to China’s plan, a base for the China-ASEAN Information Harbor will be established in Nanning, consisting of 34 projects worth 20.9 billion yuan ($3.3 billion).
There is still a huge digital gap between developing Asia and the Western world. A total of 700 million Chinese and 400 million people in Southeast Asia today have no access to the Internet, Lu Wei said.
Accelerated infrastructure construction will bring about closer and more efficient cooperation for sharing information on finance, education, scientific research, healthcare and disaster prevention and relief, he said.
Cooperation cannot exist without sharing information, Lu said. The fund will play a vital role in breaking information barriers and closing the knowledge gap.
The two-day forum seeks to strengthen cooperation between governments, companies, and scholars in the fields of e-commerce, Internet security and cultural industries.
The central government values the industrial integration and common prosperity of China and ASEAN members, and the government is making a long-term plan to implement the Information Harbor initiative, said Lin Nianxiu, vice-director with the National Development and Reform Commission of China.
During the meeting on Sept 13, the CAC also signed a memorandum of understanding on cyberspace cooperation and development with the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications of Laos.