Manufacturing News

Moves on to integrate digital, real economies

Local govts to speed up modernization of industries for top-class development

Local governments in China will intensify efforts to promote the development of the digital economy and accelerate digital transformation and upgrade of industries, to implement the country's plan for in-depth integration of the digital and real economies, experts said.

The digital economy, they said, is expected to drive China's economic growth in the coming years, fostering innovation-driven high-quality development.

Zhejiang province is speeding up steps to promote the in-depth integration of internet, big data and artificial intelligence with the real economy, boost the digital transformation of manufacturing, agriculture and services sectors, and foster new growth drivers, according to a document released by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic regulator, on Thursday.

The document details the first batch of typical examples concerning the building of a demonstration zone for achieving common prosperity through high-quality development in Zhejiang.

It said the proportion of the province's added value of the digital economy in its GDP, and its overall digitalization level, ranked first in the country in 2022. Last year, the added value of the digital economy-related core industries in Zhejiang reached 897.7 billion yuan ($131 billion), accounting for 11.6 percent of its GDP.

Shanghai has mapped out its plan to promote digital transformation and build an international digital city with global influence. It will improve the output of its core industries in the digital economy to 18 percent of the city's GDP in the coming five years from 15 percent last year.

The city will step up efforts in the construction of digital industrial clusters in the fields of integrated circuits and artificial intelligence, aiming to become a world-leading metropolis with digital infrastructure and a forerunner of the digital economy.

More efforts will be made to build "new infrastructure" such as a national-level big data exchange, a number of data centers and computing power platforms, and push forward the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises, according to the municipal government of Shanghai.

National capital Beijing is taking measures to boost the application of digital technologies in various industries. The city's digital economy has continued to expand over the past five years, and the added value of the digital economy accounted for around 42 percent of the city's GDP in 2022.

South China's Guangdong province is pressing ahead with building national computing hubs and data center clusters.

Pan Helin, co-director of the Digital Economy and Financial Innovation Research Center at Zhejiang University's International Business School, said the digital economy has become an important driver of high-quality development this year.

Pan spoke highly of local governments' heightened efforts to develop the digital economy, which will boost the country's economic recovery, propel technological innovation and speed up enterprises' digital and intelligent upgrades.

The scale of China's digital economy reached 45.5 trillion yuan in 2021, ranking second in the world, and accounted for 39.8 percent of the country's GDP, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

"Facilitating the growth of the digital economy is of vital importance to cultivate new driving forces, effectively address unbalanced development in society and achieve common prosperity," said Long Haibo, a senior researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council.

Innovative digital technologies like big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence are finding a wide range of applications across various industries and integrating with the real economy, he said.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, has rolled out a plan to further promote development of the digital economy during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) period. China aims to raise the proportion of the added value of core digital economy industries in its GDP to 10 percent in 2025, up from 7.8 percent in 2020, said the plan.

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