China turns spotlight on digital economy in quest for ‘common prosperity’ under President Xi Jinping

China will focus on the digital economy to promote President Xi Jinping’s vision for “common prosperity”, national planning and data authorities said.

The government “aims to consistently narrow disparities among regions, urban and rural areas, various demographic groups, and among fundamental public services, while striving to continually bridge the digital divide”, the data administration said in announcing the new scheme on its official WeChat social media account.

The policy is seen as key to reducing income inequality and avoiding the middle-income trap where growth stagnates and incomes stall.

It also seeks to foster a more equitable distribution of wealth across regions and society, as China’s rapid economic growth has led to significant income gaps.

To that end, the digital economy and new digital infrastructure are key areas now being prioritised by Beijing.

China has the world’s second-largest digital economy after the United States, accounting for 41 per cent of its gross domestic product.

By 2025, “the affirmative role of the digital economy in advancing common prosperity is anticipated to become increasingly evident,” the WeChat blog post said.

The plan aims to promote regional digital collaboration by advancing relevant infrastructure and enhancing digital economy links between the country’s western and more developed eastern regions.

By 2030, authorities expect to have in place a set of innovative practices on east-west collaboration ready for replication and promotion nationwide.

China has experienced significant urbanisation in recent decades, with millions of rural migrants moving to the cities in search of better economic opportunities.

However, the economic growth and development has also been accompanied by disparities between urban and rural areas, and among population groups.

The plan also aims to promote digital talent and improve digital literacy in rural areas for better job prospects. Other areas of focus will be more inclusive access to social services through digital means, as well as better quality digital educational resources, remote medical care and elderly care.



China Economy – South China Morning Post China digital economy common prosperity President Xi Jinping

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