CHONGQING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The 2020 Smart China Expo Online that commenced on Tuesday in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality demonstrated a win-win stage for global entrepreneurs and companies.
A total of 551 companies and other institutions, including 148 foreign enterprises such as Intel, IBM and Siemens, have participated in the online exhibitions of smart products and smart manufacturing, among others.
SURREAL TECH INNOVATIONS
"Indeed, smart technologies are vital for the inclusive and sustainable future we want," said Liu Zhenmin, UN Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, while addressing the opening ceremony via video link.
Huawei, Hikvision and other leading tech companies held 116 online launch events during the expo to release their latest products and showcase their cutting-edge technologies.
Lee John Barrett, a 53-year-old YouTube blogger, was amazed by China's tech development when experiencing an autonomous vehicle at the event. "Everything was unknown to us, like the changing traffic lights and the cars parked in the middle of the road. But the car navigated itself without a driver manually controlling the vehicle and it definitely knew when to turn around, when to stop and when to move on," said Lee.
"It is really weird and surreal, but we all know that stands for the future," he added.
Themed "Smart Technology: Empowering Economy, Enriching Life," the expo had 41 online forums on 5G, blockchain, industrial internet and semiconductors. Visitors could also experience the latest technologies at offline exhibitions held in Chongqing.
"By the end of 2019, the scale of China's core artificial intelligence (AI) industry had reached 51 billion yuan (about 7.5 billion U.S. dollars), and the number of enterprises exceeded 2,600," said Wang Zhijun, vice minister of industry and information technology, at the opening ceremony. "China has become one of the places where unicorn enterprises are concentrated in the world," he added.
"We have worked with more than 400 banks and have helped them set up 147,000 banking outlets with smart services," said Zhou Xiang, co-founder of Cloudwalk, a Chinese unicorn enterprise in the AI industry. "Over 70 percent of our AI chips are made in China with completely independent technologies."
Data showed that the overall market size of China's cloud computing reached 133.4 billion yuan in 2019, up 38.6 percent year on year, far exceeding the global average growth rate of 20.86 percent. COOPERATION BOOSTS INVESTMENTS
"The era of intelligence belongs to the whole world," said Wang Zhijun. "We welcome global smart enterprises to invest in China and participate in the world's largest consumer and technology application markets."
Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2012, the scale of China's digital economy has increased from 11 trillion yuan to 35.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 36.2 percent of GDP. The revenue of the software industry alone reached 7.2 trillion yuan in 2019, up 15.4 percent year on year, and 5G users in China have exceeded 80 million, according to official statistics.
At the expo's online investment promotion activity on Wednesday, a total of 71 projects with an investment of 271.2 billion yuan were signed. Since its inauguration in 2018, the first two editions of the expo have seen global companies reach consensus in more than 1,000 projects, of which 70 percent have been launched.
"Singapore and Chongqing have a shared commitment to be at the forefront of digital connectivity," said Josephine Teo, Singapore's minister for manpower, while addressing the opening ceremony via video link.
Under a cooperation framework between China and Singapore, the two sides have signed 228 projects with an investment of about 32 billion U.S. dollars. More than 90 percent of these projects have been already launched.
"The 'positive spillover effect' brought by China's intelligent transformation is vital for the country, the region and the world at large. It will inject vitality into the global economy," said Hans-Paul Burkner, chairman of the Boston Consulting Group.