China is seeing the thriving development of the digital trade. The total value of the country's foreign trade of digital services reached $371.08 billion in 2022, up 3.2 percent year on year, according to a recent report jointly released by the Development Research Center of the State Council and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).
In recent years, China's digital trade has maintained growth momentum and become an important force in driving the high-quality development of foreign trade.
A worker operates equipment in an intelligent storage workshop of a company in Yongnian district, Handan city, north China's Hebei Province. (Xinhua/Zhao Hongyu)
Data showed that the total value of China's digital trade (the sum of the value of cross-border e-commerce trade and digital service trade) increased from 3.17 trillion yuan ($434.2 billion) in 2019 to 4.68 trillion yuan in 2022, with an average annual growth of 13.9 percent. In the first half of this year, the import and export volume of China’s digitally deliverable services reached 1.36 trillion yuan, up 12.3 percent year on year.
"The rapid growth momentum of China's digital trade can be attributed to the country's advantages in digital trade," said Xu Yujie, chief economist of the digital economy research institute at the Shandong Institutes of Industrial Technology.
Xu added that the digital economy of China, the world's second largest digital economy, surpassed 50 trillion yuan in 2022, accounting for 41.5 percent of the country's GDP. China has also made significant progress in digital infrastructure construction such as 5G, data centers, and cloud computing in recent years, and has taken the lead globally in areas like big data analysis, the mobile payment system and logistics distribution, laying a solid foundation for the development of digital trade.
New technologies represented by 5G, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI) have become important drivers for the digital development of trade.
Today, more and more digital companies are leveraging technological advantages to "go global" and exploring new opportunities.
Last year, exports of China's digital services reached $208.91 billion, up 7.2 percent year on year, and net exports of digital services surged 55.8 percent from a year ago to $46.75 billion.
Chinese digital companies will become more competitive in the global digital trade, according to Xin Yongfei, director of the Policy and Economic Research Institute at the CAICT.
Industry insiders believe that the rapid development of China's digital trade in recent years can mainly be attributed to the increasingly favorable digitalization policies in economic and trade areas, as well as innovative trade development models.
An official from China's Ministry of Commerce said that relevant departments are taking multiple measures to bolster the development of the digital trade, including introducing policies and measures to encourage the reform and innovative development of digital trade, promoting the establishment of a digital trade standardization technical committee under the ministry, and advancing international cooperation and the making of rules in the digital field.
Experts believe that driven by evolving trends, technological advancements, policy support and rules, the driving force of digital trade will continue to gather strength.