State Think Tank Calls for Expanding Digital Economy’s 30% Share of Chinese GDP


One of China’s leading government think tanks has called for measures to further expand the digital economy’s share of national GDP from over 30% in 2017.

He Wei (何伟), vice-head of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) said at a meeting on 15 December that the digital economy is the “main battlefield” for the “high-quality growth” which has emerged as the primary focal point of Chinese economy policy.

“Domestically, driving the digitisation of industry is a strategic policy decision,” said He according to a report from state-owned media.

“The government has made many arrangements for the digital transition growth of China’s economy, and is also actively driving the in-depth integration of the internet, artificial intelligence and big data with the real economy.”

According to He the State Council has unveiled over 60 policies in relation to accelerating the growth of China’s digital economy since 2015.

In 2017 China’s digital economy was the world’s second largest at 27.2 trillion yuan (approx. USD$3.94 trillion) in scope, as compared to the $11.5 trillion digital economy of the United States.

China’s digital economy accounted for 32.9% of national GDP in 2017 and made a 55% contribution to GDP growth, for far greater shares than the comparable figures for developed economies such as the UK, the United States and Germany.

He Wei revealed that in 2017 the digital industrialisation scale reached 6.2 trillion yuan, accounting for 7.4% of GDP, while the industrial digitisation scope reached 21 trillion yuan, accounting for a 25.4% share of GDP.

“Industrial digitisation is a key driver of growth of the digital economy,” said He. “In 2017 the digital penetration rate of heavy industries such as resource extraction and specialist equipment was all above 10%, while it held at 4 – 7% for light industry.”

The growth of China’s digital economy has remained robust in 2018, reaching16 trillion yuan in scope in the first half.