Chinese Digitalization and Innovation

Tim Luan

Director of Innoway. Beijing Innovation Agency

Since the 19th Communist Party of China National Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping has made a series of important speeches on accelerating the development of digital economy. "Building a digital economy with data as the key element and accelerating the construction of digital China" has become a national strategy. In this context, China's digital economy experienced a rapid development with the optimization of digital industrial structure, reaching 31.3 trillion yuan in 2018, accounting for 34.8% of GDP. From 2003 to 2018, the growth rate of China's digital economy was significantly higher than that of GDP in the same period. 

The traditional enterprises have begun to implement digital transformation in order to better survive and find more opportunities. With the upgrade of industrial structure and Chinese business innovation, "Made in China" is no longer the only label for Chinese firms and their products, "Service in China" as a strong value emerged and plays an important role in the global innovation stage.

Both mature traditional firms and start-ups pay more and more attentions on overseas markets. According to the data of China's Ministry of Commerce, both the flow and the stock of China's outbound investment and M&A have increased year by year. In 2019, Chinese enterprises made outbound investment and acquisitions in 68 countries or regions around the world, 91 M&A projects were in One Belt And One Road countries, amounting to 2.94 billion dollars, among them, Singapore, Kuwait and Malaysia attracted over 500 million dollars from Chinese enterprises.

Digitization has already penetrated into our daily life with the emergence of numerous high-tech digitalized firms. In August 2020, the Hurun Research Institute released the 2020 Hurun Global Unicorn List. Beijing becomes the global unicorn capital, with 93 unicorns accounting for 16% of the total number of unicorns in the world, second only to Silicon Valley, for instance, ByteDance, Megvii and Sensetime etc.. The rapid development of new tech-applications and business models are spawned by technological innovations. This year, the explosive development of new forms of digital economy such as Online-workplace, Online education, live streaming, and IoT monitoring has changed daily life and work methods for nearly everyone; a large number of offline physical stores have updated their business model and achieve business transformation by utilizing streaming platforms like, TikTok, Kuaishou, Taobao and etc. They not only achieved positive growth in just a few months, but some stores even achieved sales that far exceeded those of physical stores in the same period of previous years. In rural areas apart from the urban economy, local towns actively cooperate with the government. By linking up with major live streaming platforms, internet influencers and KOLs, they leverage the power of informatization and the Internet, and complement the advantages of the main stakeholder, eventually created a new model of retail through integration, which helped many of these towns to achieve an overall increase in agricultural revenue.

Beijing has more than 500 creative platforms including incubators, university science parks, and creative spaces, more than 200,000 technology companies, nearly 20,000 angel investors, and more than 670 venture capital institutions (data source "China Youth Daily"), forming an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of “integrating of elements, guiding by same direction, cultural integrative, and eco-friendly”. INNOWAY is also one of these platforms. Located in the core area of Zhongguancun, INNOWAY is the first dedicated hub in China under the theme of innovation and entrepreneurship created by Beijing and Haidian District Governments. It is also an important element in creating China’s solid foundation of high-end innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Since its opening on June 12, 2014, INNOWAY has actively built a global innovation ecological acceleration platform by offering four major services: start-up incubation, growth acceleration, industrial innovation, and global cooperation. INNOWAY is actively linking and integrating into the global innovation network, through a collaboration with different institutions, we have set up more than 10 branches around the world. We cooperate with more than 100 top global innovation institutions, large enterprises, and the Fortune 500 companies, becoming the first one-stop shop of global innovation resources needed enter to China.

INNOWAY has always been at the forefront of innovation and entrepreneurship, leading the innovative development of the national innovation and entrepreneurship industry. We work with a number of key partners to help them grow and develop. 

ZGC Forum, founded in 2007, is a global, comprehensive and open high-end international forum on science and technology innovation, with the permanent theme of “innovation and development”, has been successfully held for 12 sessions so far.  


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