China’s fast-growing foothold on the global economy is also taking shape in the world of technology.

Speaking at the World Government Summit on Monday, the Special Envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang, has called on governments to collaborate with China in advancing the future of science and technology under its ‘Belt and Road Initiative.

Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang
Photo: Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang.

In his presentation, titled ‘The Rise of the Dragon: China’s Success in Leading the World of Technology, Zhigang recounted the country’s fast-paced development. In fact, a global consultancy firm said, one in three of the world’s 262 unicorns (a privately held start-up valued at over $1 billion) are Chinese. Zhigang said in Chinese;

“China is ready to work together with the world, including in Arab countries, to develop a joint action plan to develop innovation, support technology, keep pace with human development, and serve the future of humanity,”

He said China is aware of the gap among countries in terms of artificial intelligence (AI), and it is working to provide possibilities for the development of research and cooperation with various governments.

Zhigang noted that collaboration between the public and private sector is the key in balancing the interplay of technology and governance.

“Every country has the right to participate in global, tech-enabled governance, focused on peace, security, transparency, and inclusiveness,” he said.

“We need to establish multilateral governmental cooperation to meet future challenges and promote prosperity and community development. And we need to establish an educational system that is adaptive to future employment.”

As the world prepares for the future, it also has to tackle the challenges brought about by technological advancements today, Zhigang said. “Today’s world is going through unprecedented changes such as the backlash against globalisation and the threat of climate change.”

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal and has been under global scrutiny in recent years. President Xi Jinping, however, has made climate change one of his “three battles” in Government.

Zhigang also said China is supporting research and promoting development to support the well-being of individuals and improve the quality of life.

How big is Digital China?

Digital China has risen like the legendary dragon

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, China accounted for less than one percent of the value of e-commerce transactions worldwide about a decade ago. After 10 years, that share now is more than 40 percent.

“The current value of China’s e-commerce transactions is estimated to be larger than those generated in France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States combined,” the global consultancy firm added.

E-commerce in China grew from 25 percent in 2013 to 68 percent in 2016, or around $790 billion, which is 11 times than that of the US.