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Digital Technology: Unleashing New Quality Productive Forces

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2024-04-09 17:17:22 | Author: YU Haoyuan

By Yu Haoyuan

China's ongoing advancements in science and technology are heavily influenced by "new quality productive forces".The forces are driving strategic future and emerging industries, which have the potential to introduce disruptive technological advancements in an era of intelligent information.

The emergence of "new quality productive forces" extends beyond mere changes in the productive forces.It fundamentally reshapes the relationshipbetween production and the social system. For example, it enhances the capabilities of industrial chains, fosters the growth of emerging industries and promotes the development of future industrial layouts. Digital technology serves as a critical driving force in realizing these functions.

Upgrades traditional industries

In recent years, the integration of new-generation digital technologies such as big data, AI, and 5G across various industries, alongside the rapid emergence of data-related businesses and models, has elevated data into a primary production tool. The production, processing, and utilization of data have accelerated transformations in economic and social realms, fundamentally altering production methods and lifestyles. This disruptive change has not only driven improvements in total factor productivity, but also created vast opportunities for economic growth and profoundly influenced human production and life.

The China Digital Economy Industry Development Research Report (2023) highlights the increasing pull effect of highly digitized industries on China's economy. From 2012 to 2022, the proportion of highly digitized industries, primarily encompassing productive services such as finance and scientific research, surged from 16.8 percent to 22.4 percent, indicating a relative increase in their pull effect by 10.9 percent.

Researchers Qing Kaiqiang and Yang Yang, from Yunnan University, argue that the digitization of traditional industries enhances efficiency while reducing resource consumption and environmental pollution, thereby bolstering market competitiveness. Simultaneously, the digital economy enables global resource allocation and flow by transcending geographical constraints through online platforms. This efficient resource allocation expands market opportunities and encourages collaboration across regions and industries, facilitating the ongoing emergence of new quality productivity.

Creates new industries

Digital technology also promotes the emergence of new industries. In terms of enterprise development, China stands at the forefront globally in the expansion of digital economy unicorns and valuation as of 2022, capturing 38.0 percent and 47.1 percent of the total global share, respectively.

According to Cai Yuezhou, a research fellow from the Institute of Quantitative and Technological Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, strategic emerging industries in the digital realm, such as new energy, new materials, and advanced manufacturing, are characterized within the domain of new quality productivity.

Professors Gai Kaicheng and Han Wenlong from the Southwestern University underscored that the digital economy plays a pivotal role in supporting the development of new technologies, industries, and business models. Firstly, it provides extensive application scenarios and data resources, driving the advancement of modern information technology. Secondly, it fosters emerging industries, forging new avenues for high-quality productivity and optimizing industrial chains. Thirdly, through data-driven innovation and digital integration, it forms the backbone of new industries and breakthrough technologies, accelerating progress in sectors such as new energy and biotechnology, they said.

Further digitalization

In the future, digital technology will continue to enhance production capacity, particularly in human labor, means of labor, and the subject of labor.

With the proliferation of"black-light factories,"the increasing application of drones,andgrowing commonality of"machine for man,"many jobsrequirea smaller workforce, leading to changes in worker requirements. Consequently, individuals are increasingly pursuing new occupations, especially those related to digital technology.

The Future of Jobs Report 2023 published by the World Economic Forum predicts that global businesses will create approximately 69 million new jobs over the next five years. The fastest-growing types of jobs are predominantly driven by artificial intelligence and digitalization.

In China, the number of emerging digital occupations is also on the rise. For example, according to a report released by the Chinese Academy of Personnel Sciences, the short video live broadcasting ecosystemhas nurtured and spawned 174 newoccupations,including Internet marketer, store scouting person, and Internet recruiter. Moreover, it has introduced over 30 new career forms, encompassing roles like anchor, assistant broadcaster, and product selector.

The increase in digitalization brings economic growth. According to the 2022 Digital China Development Report, China's digital economy soared to 50.2 trillion RMB in 2022, accounting for 41.5 percent of the GDP, a significant increase compared to a decade ago. Forecasts indicate a continued upward trend, the digital economy is expected to reach 70.8 trillion RMB in 2025 and its contribution to China's GDP will exceed 50 percent in the near future.

Editor: 余昊原

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