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Ancient Zhejiang town embraces modernity in Internet Conference

The World Internet Conference opens on morning of Nov 16, and more than 1,000 industry heavyweights are expected to be in attendance. Many of these will be Chinese, and they will be showcasing the country’s freshest tech creations and discussing the concerns of its 710 million internet users. The theme of this year’s conference centers around the future of cyberspace.

History has been kind to the east China town of Wuzhen, with its unique lifestyle along the waterways. Most of its traditions and folk customs have been well-preserved. Nicknamed the Venice of the East, the water town is popular tourist destination, it welcomed more than 6 million visitors last year.

But quite apart from its idyllic setting, Wuzhen is also a place that is seeing first-hand China’s internet technology boom. From public transport to elderly care services, it is a sector that is playing a big part in the lives of the town’s 60,000 residents. And the rest of China has noticed its potential; it reported a 6.5 percent increase in domestic investment in the first six months of this year while it took in $11 million worth of investment. This was enough to beat its 12-month goal.

At the opening of the third World Internet Conference, a new landmark is in place to welcome the guests. Behind me is the Internet International Convention Centre. To integrate tradition and modernity more coherently, some 2.6 million Chinese-style tiles top the external walls.

More than 50,000 wire ropes are inside, representing the complexity of the internet. The venue consists of three centers for conferences, exhibitions and various reception. For the first time during the conference, cutting-edge scientific achievements from the world of the internet will be showcased. With Wuzhen’s rich history, how it is embracing internet technology provides great hope for the future.