By Ren Guan, People’s Daily
Navigation apps that show real-time traffic information and estimated travel time, virtual fitting room that helps you get the best clothes you want when you shop online, and virtual museums where you can get close to valuable cultural relics at home… These scenarios have already become a part of the daily life of the Chinese people.
As China steps up its efforts to build a digital country, digital technologies are being widely applied, bringing digital dividends to more and more people.
The country has further consolidated the foundation of its digital industrialization and accelerated the process of industrial digitalization over the past ten years. China’s digital economy grew from 11 trillion yuan ($1.58 trillion) in 2012 to 45.5 trillion yuan last year. Today, digital technologies are reaching every corner of the country and bringing profound changes to the life of the Chinese people.
Over the past ten years, digitalization has made people’s life easier.
From 2012 to 2021, internet penetration in China grew from 42.1 percent to 73 percent, and all prefectural-level cities have been covered by optical networks. Besides, all administrative villages and villages lifted out of poverty across the country have broadband access.
As of the end of this July, China had 475 million 5G mobile users. The country is home to the world’s largest 5G network.
Thanks to the leapfrog development of digital infrastructure, new technologies and business models are popping up, such as sharing economy, online retail and mobile payment.
The fruits of digital construction are benefiting all aspects of the society. Today, people order food by scanning QR codes and pay bills with facial recognition. Parking and garbage sorting are also made intelligent through digital technologies.
In rural areas, farmers are selling farm produce on livestream platforms and digital technologies are turning traditional agriculture much smarter. More and more farmers are seeing increasing income thanks to digitalization.
Over the past ten years, digitalization has made services much more convenient for the people.
Today, online and remote services are very prevalent in China. In south China’s Hainan province, 18 urban hospitals, 340 rural healthcare centers and 2,700 village clinics have been equipped with 5G telemedicine devices. These devices can reduce the average length of patient visits by three to five hours and improve hospitals’ efficiency by 30 percent.
In a scenic area in Fuzhou, southeast China’s Fujian province, a series of 5G-enabled smart tourism programs have been launched, such as a 5G visible management platform and a B&B monitoring system. With these programs, the scenic area has witnessed a 13-percent rise in tourist visits.
In Fuzhou, east China’s Jiangxi province, education authorities have connected rural and urban schools through the internet, so as to bring the quality education resources in cities to rural children.
China has established the world’s largest online education platform and a national platform for medical insurance information. Over 90 percent of Chinese counties and districts have access to telemedicine. During the remarkable decade, digital technologies have made important contributions to narrowing the urban-rural and interregional gap regarding social service resources.
Over the past ten years, China has made huge improvement in digital government services. Digital government is an important part of China’s digital construction efforts. To apply digital technologies in government services is an effective measure to modernize governance system and capability, as well as an inevitable choice for China to meet the public’s ever-growing demand for government services.
At present, mobile government service platforms are seen in almost everywhere in the country, and people can have the errands done via a single website and in any province in the country.
Nearly 90 percent of provincial-level administrative licenses can be applied online, and the applicants can receive the licenses by paying one visit at most to relevant offices, without the need for a second trip. The average processing time has been reduced by over a half.
According to a UN survey, China’s E-Government Development Index is the ninth highest in the world.
By building a digital country, China will energize digital economy, improve e-government services, optimize digital environment, build digital cooperation and enhance digital security. Digital technologies will surely better benefit the society and give people more sense of fulfillment, happiness and security.