“Digital China Development Plan” Calls for Greater State Coordination of Economic Development

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The Chinese central government has issued a new plan on the development of the country’s digital economy which places greater emphasis on the role of the state in an economic coordination role.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council recently jointly released the “Overall Layout Plan for the Development of a Digital China” (数字中国建设整体布局规划).

“Building a Digital China is an important engine for advancing Chinese-style modernization in the digital era, and a strong support for building new competitive advantages for the nation,” the Plan said.

“Accelerating the development of a Digital China is of great significance and will have far-reaching impacts on the comprehensive development of a modern socialist national and the comprehensive promotion of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”

The Plan calls for the Chinese government and the CPC in particular to play a greater role in coordinating and guiding the development of China’s digital economy.

“It is necessary to strengthen overall planning and coordinated progress…first of all is strengthening organization and leadership. [We must] uphold and strengthen the party’s overall leadership over the development of a Digital China.

“Under the centralized and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, the Central Cyber ​​Security and Digitisation Committee will strengthen overall planning, coordination, overall promotion, and the supervision and implementation of the development of a Digital China.”

To this end, the Plan also calls for “establishing and improving overall coordination mechanisms for the development of a Digital China…promoting cross-departmental coordination and linkage between upper and lower levels,” and “making the development of Digital China as a reference standard for the assessment and evaluation of the relevant leading cadres of the party and government.”

With regard to financing, the Plan says the Chinese government will “ensure [the availability] of capital investment” via public-private style partnerships and state encouragement for private capital to invest.

“[We will] innovate methods for financial support and strengthen the overall guidance of various funds; give full play to the role of the national industry-finance cooperation platform and guide financial resources to provide support for digital development.

“[We will] encourage and guide capital to engage in standardised participation in the development of a Digital China, and build an investment and financing system in which social [private] capital plays an effective role.”

The Plan places heavy emphasis on infrastructure development, with key targets including:

  1. Opening up the main channels of digital infrastructure. Accelerating the coordinated construction of 5G networks and gigabit optical networks, further promoting the large-scale deployment and application of IPv6, promoting the comprehensive development of the mobile Internet of Things, and vigorously promoting the large-scale application of the Beidou [satellite system]. Systemic optimisation of the layout of computing power infrastructure, promoting the efficient and collaborative linkage of computing power between the east and the west, and guiding a rational echelon-based layout of general data centers, supercomputing centers, intelligent computing centers, and edge data centers. Improving the level of infrastructure application as a whole, and strengthening the digitisation and smart transformation of traditional infrastructure.
  2. Smoothing out the circulation of data resources. Building a national data management system and mechanism, and improving overall data management institutions at all levels. Promoting the aggregation and utilization of public data, and building national data resource banks in key fields such as public health, science and technology, and education. Unleashing the value potential of commercial data, accelerating the establishment of a data property rights system, conducting research on data asset valuation, and establishing a mechanism for data as a factor of production to participate in resource distribution mechanisms.