Breakthroughs confirm China's rise as a global high-tech player

By Ma Si, Ouyang Shijia and He Wei | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-20 07:27

Breakthroughs confirm China's rise as a global high-tech player

An employee of Shentong Express, a delivery company, uses robots to scan, weigh and sort mail automatically. More than 700 robots work at the company's sorting center in Yiwu, Zhejiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Meanwhile, a tide of innovation is sweeping China, helping the country to evolve from an "innovation sponge", absorbing and adapting existing technology and knowledge from around the world, into a global leader in innovation, spawning a wide range of homegrown cutting-edge products and services.

Nothing better demonstrates this than the bike-sharing phenomenon. Created by Chinese players, including Ofo and Mobike, GPS-enabled, dockless bikes are now improving the lives of people in big cities at home and abroad who are fed up with congested roads and long for zero-emissions forms of transportation.

In September, Ofo announced that it would launch its services in four European countries-the Czech Republic, Italy, Russia and the Netherlands-moving the company closer to meeting its ambitious goal of entering 200 cities in 20 countries by the end of the year.

"In stark contrast to the previous generation of Chinese companies that focused on domestic growth until the market became saturated, emerging startups are better at coming up with their own ideas and better aware of the opportunities abroad," said Zhang Xu, an analyst at Analysys, a market researcher in Beijing.

The surge in mass entrepreneurship and innovation, buoyed by favorable government policies, is noticeable. By the end of last year, the country had nearly 26 million registered private and State-owned businesses, a rise of 18.8 percent from the previous year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.

More important, 71 internet companies are "unicorns", that is, private businesses valued at more than $1 billion each. Notably, four of them-Didi Chuxing, Xiaomi, Lu and Meituan-Dianping-have made the list of the world's 10 most valuable unicorns.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China's artificial intelligence sector is now equal to those in leading global powers in terms of voice, image and semantics recognition technologies.

Li Shu, a partner at Boston Consulting said: "China is a global pioneer in the field of internet development, as the growth in the number of netizens and the volume of internet consumption both top the corresponding rates in other nations. We have found that innovation permeates much quicker in China than the United States because Chinese netizens are more willing to accept new applications."

Online shopping

For example, online shopping is now the norm for hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers. The advent of e-commerce, online payment and courier services means consumers can have goods delivered to their doorsteps within hours with just a few taps on their mobile gadgets.

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