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How Digital Transformation will Advance China's Economy

The global networked economy thrives on new ideas and innovation. Across the globe, more nations are making technology-centered strategies the focal point of their economic development. Amid ongoing digital transformation, the world is entering the era of the digital economy, a trend that is very evident in China.

Against this backdrop, the definition of the Four New Concepts, namely "new era, new balance, new way of thinking, and new grand goals" was proposed at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October 2017, outlining the direction for China's future economic development.

Five key terms were also mentioned in the report: "Cultural Revitalization, Digital Transformation, Innovation-driven Development, Globalization, and People's Well-being," serving as guidelines to the development of China’s digital economy for the years to come.

China's Digital Transformation Agenda

IDC predicts that in the next 3 to 4 years, a digital economy will reshape the economic landscape of China -- and the world as a whole -- transforming the way enterprises operate. Furthermore, innovations empowered by new technologies will play a pivotal role in the transformation.

"Industry users and ICT vendors will work collaboratively to strategize and architect new digital transformation platforms, build new trustworthy ecosystems, deliver new customer experiences, and enjoy new-era growth with digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships," said Kitty Fok, IDC China Managing Director.

IDC forecasts that China’s economy will continue to see steady growth in 2018 at 6.5 percent GDP growth rate. Cultural Revitalization will stimulate the music, film, games, animation and knowledge sharing industries.


Digital Transformation will spur technological advances in information technology, intelligent manufacturing, biological medicine, energy, environmental protection, and the marine and aerospace sectors.

Innovation-driven Development will accelerate the growth in smart industrial parks, smart cities and associated technological services. Globalization will witness the advancement of the Belt and Road Initiative and Free Trade Zones. People’s Well-being will drive progress in energy saving and environmental protection, health care, recreation, and tourism.

China's broader ICT markets, especially those related to the 4 third-platform technologies and the 6 innovation-accelerators, have been growing faster than China’s GDP growth. IDC predicts that, in 2018, China’s broader ICT market will grow 7.1 percent, the third-platform market will grow 5.5 percent, and the innovation accelerator market will grow 13.5 percent.

Outlook for Digital Economy Growth in China

"Key aspects of the digital economy and its success, will rely on how business gathers, manages and monetizes data, how consumers are engaged at large scale, and how digital transformation platform is built with a good balance of both open API ecosystems versus core intellectual properties," said Lianfeng Wu , Vice President and Chief Analyst of IDC China.

According to the IDC assessment, industry users and ICT vendors should stay current on the fundamental technology enablers for a digital economy, and apply them into the core of their business operations and cultures, in order to accelerate their transformation into digital native enterprises. This is essential to achieving an all-round transformation and gaining first mover advantage in the era of the digital economy.

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