opinions

Cooperation needed to empower digital engine for shared growth

It has been more obvious than ever that the digital economy has become a new engine of the world economy. But to fully capture its dividends, nations should make more efforts to promote fair and equal digital cooperation.

Themed “Digital Empowerment for a Better Future: Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace,” the World Internet Conference – Internet Development Forum held in east China’s Zhejiang Province underlined a collective approach to grasp the opportunities of digital economy.

At the start of 2020, more than 4.5 billion people in the world were using the Internet. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, telemedicine, e-learning, sharing platforms and collaboration systems have been widely used, highlighting the Internet’s important role in promoting economic recovery and ensuring social progress. Digital power can also extend to the spheres of global climate change response and poverty alleviation.

To fully harness the role of digital economy, the international community should uphold the global governance concept, which is based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and work together to build cyberspace into a community where everyone can contribute to development.

Cyber security is an essential cornerstone of digital development. Information and data security is critical to building trust between parties in the digital world and ensuring long-term prosperity of digital economy. Countries should stand against any damage to critical information infrastructure or data theft of other countries. Meanwhile, purging digital tech firms of other countries on the pretext of national and digital security should stop. Such bullying makes the need for formulating global digital security rules more urgent than ever.

On the basis of respecting sovereignty in cyberspace and Internet policies of individual countries, more efforts should be made to explore acceptable means of expanding Internet access and connectivity, and deliver development opportunities brought by the Internet to more developing countries and people. It is urgent to advance cooperation in maintaining open, stable and secure global ICTs (information and communications technologies), as well as industrial and supply chains.

Meanwhile, the importance of addressing the challenges posed by the digital economy and bridging the digital divide should not be ignored. Countries have different conditions and face various challenges in the development of digital economy. Vulnerable groups which do not have digital access or face difficulty in using digital tools should be provided with alternative channels and customized support to protect their interests.

China has achieved stellar progress in digital technologies such as 5G and big data, spurring the rapid growth of digital economy in the past few years. China’s digital economy reached 35.8 trillion yuan (5.45 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2019, accounting for 36.2 percent of its total GDP. By the end of May, China’s fiber-optic network had covered all urban and rural areas. In June, the number of Internet livestreaming service users in China reached 562 million.

To achieve shared development, China is ready to work with other countries to provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment, and boost the confidence of global market through further application of digital, networking and intelligent technologies in industries.

The Internet is a shared home of mankind. Countries should break new ground in digital cooperation to maintain a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace. Only in this way can the world build a better place that all can call home.

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