China: Digital Economy Could Create Millions Of Jobs As Big Data And AI Sectors Grow

A sign of China's e-commerce company JD.com is seen at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) Asia 2018
JD.com is just an example of the e-commerce sites--even in real estate--that China's millennials flock to. (Photo: REUTERS/Aly Song)

China's digital economy has great potential in creating millions of jobs as both artificial intelligence (AI) and big data companies either add new departments or enhances investment projects.

Director of the Digital Economy Research Institute of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Sun Ke, told Economic Information Daily that China's digital economy is helping boost the employment sector.

"The development of the digital economy not only advances an employment upgrade but also brings about new job opportunities," Sun said. He added that innovations in the country's previously traditional sectors played a key role in the creation of jobs over the past years.

Analysts are expecting that the local digital realm can bring about over 200 million jobs by 2020 if the tech trend keeps moving forward. On the other hand, a total digital transformation comes with challenges in various segments within the technology market.

Sun said China should open its mind to new models for the digital economy. He cited artificial intelligence (AI) and big data computing as key drivers in transforming the country's economy into one that caters to a technologically-inclined generation.

With more companies and government agencies promoting digitized services and programs, the interest in China's digital economy will increase. With this comes a higher opportunity for creating new jobs that have the potential to reach the million mark.

In December, Xinhua reported that China's digital economy accounted for a big chunk of the country's total GDP during the first half of 2018. At that time, the CAICT said the digital economy was estimated to be at 16 trillion yuan during the period of January to June 2018.

The outlet said growth in the digital economy was spurred by strong momentum in several segments under the digital sector including mobile payment and e-commerce. These two segments are said to have ignited technological innovation in industries that were deemed traditional in the past.

While the latest developments point to an optimistic future for the sector, researchers stressed the importance of stepping up efforts in transforming the entire industrial sector as there is still a huge gap to be filled in terms of improvement.

In global terms, China accounts for 16 percent of GDP, ASEAN Today reported. Economists believe that the Chinese digital economy can still grow these figures until such time it can contribute a larger percentage to international profits.

Furthermore, other ASEAN countries are helping boost the region's total GDP. Analysts said China is no longer alone in the battle for pushing up the ASEAN region's digital economy as countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand are exploring other ways to improve local digitization models.

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