China will employ a raft of well-focused policy steps to foster a more enabling climate for the development of the digital economy, the State Council, the country’s Cabinet, said on Friday.

Topping the agenda are priorities like improving data infrastructure and relevant institutional systems and promoting market-oriented allocation of data resources.

Given the far-reaching impact of the digital economy, emphasis should be placed on comprehensively integrating these technologies with the real economy, so as to provide a solid underpinning for economic and social development, according to the State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Qiang.

China’s total data output reached 32.85 zettabytes in 2023, up more than 22 percent year-on-year, while the added value of core digital economy industries accounted for 10 percent of GDP, according to the National Data Administration.

On Tuesday, during the Global Digital Economy Conference 2024, Liu Liehong, head of the administration, said that China is set to prioritize relevant institutional reforms this year, aiming to unleash the potential of the country’s vast data resources and transform them into a new competitive advantage.

The administration plans to roll out eight institutional documents, focusing on data property rights, data circulation, revenue distribution, security governance, public data development and utilization, enterprise data development and utilization, high-quality development of the digital economy, and data infrastructure construction, Liu said.

The rapid development of China’s digital industries came on the back of robust digital infrastructure. Recent statistics from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed that the country had built 3.837 million 5G base stations by the end of May, accounting for 60 percent of the global total.

Friday’s meeting also announced that efforts will be made to enhance the innovation capabilities of platform companies and promote the sustained and healthy development of the platform economy.

The platform economy has emerged as a vital force both in facilitating connectivity between the digital and real economies and in driving the development of the real economy, according to a report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

The market value of China’s platform economy surged from 4.97 trillion yuan ($683.90 billion) in 2015 to 33.43 trillion yuan in 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 32.92 percent. Furthermore, by the end of 2022, the number of Chinese platform unicorns — enterprises valued at over $1 billion — reached 254, marking an increase of 190 companies compared to 2015.



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