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Internet event shows China's tech prowess

2019-10-24Source: China Daily Global   Cheng Yu in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province

Range of new applications to tackle real-life problems unveiled in Wuzhen

A 5G-enabled, self-driving minibus, a virtual reality live band and the announcement of a group of new 5G smartphones were among internet technologies and applications unveiled at the 6th World Internet Conference, which ended on Tuesday.

Many attendees at the conference, which was held in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, left with an impression of the extent to which technologies have been commercialized in China. While artificial intelligence, the industrial internet and superfast 5G were merely concepts just a few years ago, they have emerged as a reality in China, tackling real-life problems.

Last year, a virtual news anchor, the world's first, drew attention. This year, another virtual anchor not only was able to broadcast with the same voice, but also had the vivid mannerisms of a real person.

The improvement was mainly thanks to 3D cloning technology, which uses artificial intelligence to duplicate the anchor in real time, with "her" minor facial expressions depicted accurately.

According to Jon Li, president of Guangdong Kangyun Technologies Ltd, the developer of the technology, such technologies have been widely incorporated into a range of industries in China.

In Guangdong province, the company has been helping the local court record 150,0000 exhibits and evidence in 3D.

"China has witnessed a deeper convergence of forefront technologies including AI, 5G and cloud computing with the real economy. A group of unique companies with innovative capacity have emerged in the country," said Chen Zhaoxiong, vice-minister of industry and information technology, at the conference.

According to reports released during the event, China has taken one of the top spots among 48 economies in internet development, with an increase in innovation capacity, internet applications and industrial development.

In a newly published index that gauged six aspects, including infrastructure level, innovation capacity and cyberspace governance, China's internet development ranked second overall behind the United States. The other economies in the top five were South Korea, the United Kingdom and France.

"In terms of innovation capacity, the US, China and Japan took the top three places. The country's rise of innovative ability globally can be seen by its rising number of patents in information technologies," said Yang Shuzhen, head of the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies.

Qu Xianming, an expert with the National Manufacturing Strategy Advisory Committee, said that as China pushes in-depth synergy of technological advances with economic and social development, innovation will contribute to an increasingly large part of the real economy.

"Industrial growth will benefit considerably from the strategy, which can motivate the long-predicted convergence of IT and other industries to boost momentum in China," Qu said.

On 5G in particular, China had contributed 34 percent of patents essential to 5G standards in the world by March, according to German patent data company IPlytics.

China officially began granting licenses for commercial use of 5G on June 6. From conducting the world's first 5G-enabled brain surgery on a human, to transmitting 8K ultrahigh-definition TV content through 5G networks and piloting self-driving buses and cars, China is pioneering cutting-edge technologies for commercial use.

The nation is set to become the world's largest 5G market by 2025, with 460 million 5G users, according to a forecast by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association, an industry group.

While some have said 5G smartphones are still far away, a group of Chinese tech companies have announced new momentum in such smartphones.

Zhao Ming, president of Honor, a key smartphone brand of Huawei Technologies Co, told China Daily that Honor will launch its V30 smartphones in November, and the phones will support 5G technology.

Xiaomi Corp founder and CEO Lei Jun disclosed that Xiaomi plans to launch more than 10 types of 5G smartphones next year.

Amid the rapid progress of the internet, Zhuang Rongwen, the minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China, said at the conference that more innovations should be made in the industrial internet sector for higher-quality economic growth.

The industrial internet, which refers to a network of advanced machinery with internet-connected sensors and big data analytics, is widely considered an important way of improving industrial efficiency.

"To maintain the vigorous development of the industrial internet, we must promote deeper convergence of digital technologies in the sector to maximize the effect of digitalization," Zhuang said.

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