If you’re a tourist visiting China in 2017, chances are you’ll be surprised at how technology is integrated into everyday life. Behind all the convenience is not just readily available technology, but a government-led “Internet Plus” campaign to tap the full potential of the internet.
Jiang Aofei may not know the intimate details of the Internet Plus action plan, but he feels that his life has benefited tremendously from it. Practically everything he needs on a daily basis is a few clicks away on his phone — hailing a cab, getting his dinner delivered and even ordering a masseuse who can make a house call to save him from a trip to the massage parlor.
This is exactly what the Internet Plus action plan aims to do: empowering traditional industries with the force of the internet. The idea is that by integrating mobile phones, cloud computing and big data with modern manufacturing and promoting e-commerce, a new engine has been created for China’s economic growth.
Chinese businesses are eyeing lucrative growth opportunities enabled by the plan. Xia Yongfeng, vice-president of Xiaomi Ecosystem, a sub-brand group of the leading smartphone and smart gadgets maker Xiaomi, says that he takes pride in how smart and internet-connected most of his products are. In an era of mobile internet, it’s these types of products that will meet the specific needs of picky customers, said Xia.
“One of the values we look for when we bring new products into the Mi family is whether it has the ‘Internet value system.’ What I mean is that we look for brands that treasure users, who are the core of this Internet Age, “Xia explains. He points out that Xiaomi has evolved with the Internet Plus drive and it owes much of its success to the availability of cloud computing and big data, two core elements of the government’s action plan.
But the road ahead is not one without challenges. Technology may have empowered Xiaomi, but it also has fueled competition with the company’s business rivals. Xia Yongfeng has an ambitious vision for the future of his firm. He believes that to think the internet is to think bold and think the future, because any product that may seem edgy now will only look completely ordinary down the road.
China’s Internet Plus plan may be young, but it’s already changing people’s lives for the better. And if all goes to plan, Chinese businesses stand to benefit too, running maybe a little faster than their international peers.