BEIJING — From Singles’ Day to the Internet Plus campaign, online connectivity is bringing changes to almost all sectors of China’s economy, and has become key to economic reform.
China has the world’s biggest online community, with about half the population connected, changing the way people shop, pay their bills and the way they think.
Complicated procedures have been simplified; decentralization has broken monopolies. These concepts are easily in the latest reform policies.
Last year, the Communist Party of China decided to allow the market a bigger role in allocating resources. To this end, the government has been cutting red tape, delegating power and improving services for emerging industries.
Compared with the traditional focus on product, the Internet is continually improving service quality and making things easier for people.
The government is rebalancing economic growth and the service sector has become a key contributor to GDP. The government is now more concerned by supply-side reform than simply trying to stimulate demand.
Connectivity is a mainstay of regional and international economic development strategies such as the plan for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei metropolitan area and the Belt and Road initiative.
The government has highlighted the principle of sharing in its development proposal for the next five years, and expects to eliminate poverty, doubling 2010 GDP and per capita income of both urban and rural residents by 2020.
Internet upgrades bring innovation which can often be disruptive but that’s exactly what the Chinese economy will have to go through to shift to more balanced, sustainable growth.
Hopefully the Internet-minded leadership will ensure a smooth and steady economic transition.