21 April 2019
Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

POLICY WATCH: Keeping up in the information age

As new communications technologies begin changing the face of society, Chinese authorities are putting fresh emphasis on promoting informatization to drive social and economic development, deeming the initiative as vital in the nation’s broader push to upgrade the economy.

In line with the effort, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), which oversees the nation’s overall technology and industry development, on Oct. 24 released a blueprint outlying the roadmap for deepening the so-called informatization.

Informatization refers to the process through which new communication technologies are used as a means to further a nation’s development as the society becomes more dependent on information.

By 2015, China will make substantial progress in integrating information technology with industrialization and promoting informatization in all aspects of its social and economic development, the MIIT said in its plan document.

Informatization plays an important role in accelerating economic restructuring and growth pattern transformation, driving up effective investment and consumption demand, and continuously improving people’s livelihood, the ministry said. The Informatization Development Index (IDI), which is an indicator of the extent to which a society is information-based, is targeted to reach 0.79 by 2015, up from 0.73 in 2011.

By 2015, China will provide fixed-line broadband Internet access for more than 270 million households, including over 70 million with optical fiber access, and overall Internet users will exceed 850 million nationwide, according to the plan. 3G users are seen surpassing 450 million by 2015.

With the increasing coverage of internet connectivity, the government has also set a high goal in e-commerce market development. E-commerce transaction value should hit 18 trillion yuan (US$2.94 trillion) by 2015 and account for 9 percent of the nation’s retail sales. From the industry perspective, the government is urging that 70 percent of key work procedures be automatically controlled.

Small and medium-sized enterprises need to leverage the internet to boost their sales as well as to reach out to new customers.

Efforts will be made to raise the informatization level in enterprises, social sectors, especially in e-government building, as well as rural areas, the plan document said. A nation-wide e-government service network should be built to unify the public service platform across the nation. Central government departments and provincial governments should have 85 percent of their daily businesses covered by information technology. In the case of local and rural administrations, such level should be 70 percent and 50 percent respectively, according to the plan.

Authorities should drive online communications with the general public, making online government services, such as those related to tax returns and social security, more popular. That should have a significant synergy effect that benefits the society, the MIIT blueprint said.

With the support of the e-government platform, China aims to provide electronic health records to at least 70 percent of the people living in cities and rural areas. A real time settlement of medical service will be introduced in rural areas to benefit the residents there. More than 800 million people can enjoy social security services by presenting their social security cards.

To promote security defense capabilities, the government will work to combine design, construction and operation of important information systems and networks with those of security protection facilities.

In addition, authorities will improve the infrastructure for network and information security, and strengthen the monitoring and early warning systems, while putting in more efforts for technological research and development.

– Contact the reporter at [email protected]


    EJ Insight writer

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