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Digital Trade, a new engine for China's high-quality development
   2023-11-24 11:41   

Editor's note: Liu Chunsheng, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is an associate professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The second Global Digital Trade Expo (GDTE) with the theme of "Digital Trade Connecting the World" kicks off on November 23 in Hangzhou, the capital of east China's Zhejiang Province. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in his congratulatory letter to the Expo, called for making full use of the expo to promote cooperation, build digital trade into a new engine for common development, and inject new impetus into world economic growth.

Digital trade has become an essential part of economic development and international trade for countries worldwide. New digital technologies and innovative business models penetrate into all spheres of the the economy and society, profoundly altering traditional commercial practices and trade patterns.

The advantage of digital trade lies in the fact that through digital and networked means it is not constrained by time and space. It can significantly reduce transaction costs, enhance efficiency, expand markets, and promote trade balance and economic development. Covering over 100,000 square meters, the expo presents the future of the industry, showcasing innovative products and new technologies. It is expected to provide broader market opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises and developing countries.

China's development of digital trade started early, with a robust foundation and significant potential. As the largest internet user market globally, China has about one billion netizens and an internet penetration rate of 75.6 percent, providing an immense market space and data advantage for digital trade.

A staff member displays a shore crane remote control simulation system, Beijing, capital of China, July 4, 2023. /Xinhua 

A staff member displays a shore crane remote control simulation system, Beijing, capital of China, July 4, 2023. /Xinhua 

The Chinese government places great emphasis on the digital economy, enacting a series of policies to promote digital trade. China has rolled out a plan for the overall layout of the country's digital development in February, vowing to make important progress in the construction of a digital China by 2025. Investment in digital infrastructure has played a particularly important role in facilitating the boom of digital industries, especially in areas such as 5G and cloud computing, giving a solid technological support and platform for the development of digital trade.

China's emergence as the world's advanced digital economy is driven by digital ecosystems bolstered by market-moving internet players. Companies like Alibaba, Tencent,, ByteDance, and iFlytek, which are influential in the global digital economy, have provided a strong momentum for the expansion of China's digital trade with their innovative growth.

China leads globally in mobile payment, with services like WeChat Pay and Alipay deeply entrenched in people's lives, facilitating convenient payment methods for digital trade. With a rich talent network and increasing internationalization, the continuous emergence of innovative entrepreneurship projects within the country provide a constant stream of innovation dynamism and talent for digital trade. These advantages collectively position China at the forefront of global digital trade with the potential to lead.

The development of digital trade serves as a new engine for China's economic growth, assisting the shift from high-speed to high-quality development. By promoting the application of digital technology, digital trade accelerates the digitalization, networking, and intelligent transformation of traditional industries, enhancing overall industrial competitiveness. It helps integrate China more effectively into the global value chain, especially in service trade, digital content, and data flow, elevating China's role in the international division of labor.

Digital trade also stimulates domestic demand and creates numerous job opportunities. It provides new economic models for traditional international trade, aiding Chinese businesses in leveraging digital means to explore international markets. Digital trade drives the rapid development and innovation of related information technologies, enhancing the country's technological innovation capacity. It helps bridge regional and developmental disparities, promoting balanced economic development between less developed and more developed areas.

Moving forward, it is necessary to strengthen the construction of digital trade platforms and steadily advance the establishment of digital trade demonstration zones. China will continue to promote the development of digital trade through the expo, with efforts continuing to promote higher-level opening-up and share opportunities brought by digital trade with other countries.

Source: CGTN Author: Liu Chunsheng Editor: Ye Lijiao