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Subsections Updated: 2020-07-27

Internet of Things

IoT, or the Internet of Things, the concept of connecting electronic devices such as speakers and refrigerators to the internet, is a crucial support for digital economic growth.

Only a few years ago, IoT was just a concept. Since the beginning of 2019, however, it has become a mainstream technology that is being commercialized.

IoT has not only found its way into smart homes. It is also being applied in a wide range of industries including manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare.

For example, at an intelligent warehouse of menswear giant HLA, employees no longer need to search for required garments in a mountain of clothes. The 5G-enabled IoT dispatches smart robots to identify and pick up the required e-tagged garments.

Charlie Dai, a principal analyst at Forrester, a business strategy and economic consultancy, said: “The Chinese government has unveiled a string of strategic IoT initiatives for the nation’s digital transformation. IoT was also included in its 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which will steer China's economic and social development between 2016 and 2020.”

By 2022, China is expected to spend $300 billion annually on IoT and surpass the United States as the world’s largest IoT market, said a report from market consultancy IDC.

Cloud computing

The size of China’s cloud computing industry is expected to exceed 300 billion yuan ($42 billion) in 2023, according to a white paper released by the Institute of International Technology and Economy.

The document predicts that China’s enterprise and government cloud adoption rate will be over 60 percent with its growing demand for digital and intelligence transformation.

Currently, main users of cloud computing services in China are in the fields of the Internet, transportation, logistics, finance and telecommunications, the white paper said.

Artificial intelligence

Artificial intelligence is developing vigorously in China with tech companies across the country teaming up to marry the technology with a variety of industries.

“China’s AI industry is currently flourishing, epitomized by the fact that an increasing number of tech breakthroughs are being made. AI is also being applied in a string of vertical industries,” said Chen Zhaoxiong, vice-minister of industry and information technology at the first China Artificial Intelligence Summit held in Xiamen, in East China’s Fujian province in August 2019.

The value of China’s core Artificial Intelligence industries could exceed one  trillion yuan ($145.47 billion) by 2030, with that of AI-enabled industries reaching more than 10 trillion yuan, a latest report by Bloomberg Intelligence said.

“Based on the growth trajectory in the past decade, China may overtake the US in global technology-patent share by 2025,” said the report.

AI-related industries may exceed six percent of China’s GDP by 2030, according to the report.

5G networks

As the fifth generation of network technology, 5G is expected to bring unprecedented speed to internet users, with some operations running 10 times faster than on 4G networks. It is also expected to unlock potential in a host of new services, including artificial intelligence, robotics, self-driving cars, and the Internet of Things.

5G enables data flow at a vastly greater volume and allows for more efficient data connection for information communication technology infrastructure due to its ability to operate at high speed and low latency, said Su Xiaodi, an official with Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) estimates that total investment pertaining to 5G network construction in China will reach 1.2 trillion yuan ($170 billion) by 2025.

The construction of 5G networks will also boost investment in upstream and downstream applications along the industrial chain as well as other industries, which is expected to outstrip 3.5 trillion yuan in the next five years, according to the CAICT.

Big data centers

China plans to build an integrated national big data center to tap the value of massive data resources in a more efficient and safer way. A national big data center would enable better decision-making and improve the efficiency of public services.

The center will promote better sharing of public data for wider application, especially in sectors such as credit, transportation, health and employment, said Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

China will study the formulation of a development roadmap for industrial data to push the integration of big data and manufacturing.

China's data volume is projected to expand at an annualized rate of over 50 percent and account for 21 percent of worldwide data by 2020.

Also, China's new infrastructure development strategy is expected to accelerate the growth of the country's data centers, according to Thursday's Science and Technology Daily.

"The new infrastructure development brought great opportunities to the data center field," said Cao Junwei, deputy director with the Research Institute of Information Technology of Tsinghua University.

Industrial big data

Industrial big data is an umbrella term referring to all the data generated during the whole life cycle of products and services in the industrial sector. Industrial enterprises create and utilize such data in their research and development, operation and management and maintenance.

The market scale of China's industrial big data sector is expected to surpass 34.61 billion yuan ($4.88 billion) in 2022, up from 14.69 billion yuan in 2019, as the sector continues to promote the transformation and upgrading of China's traditional manufacturing industries, according to CCID Consulting, a firm affiliated with a think tank under the MIIT.