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China looks set to increase technology’s share of GDP by 2025 through 6G, big data

As part of its 14th five-year plan, China plans to increase support for research and development for 6G or sixth-generation Internet. 6G is said to follow current 5G technology, although no agreement has yet been reached on global standards or definitions.

Rafael Henrique | SOPA pictures | LightRocket | Getty Images

China aims to increase the digital economy's share of its gross domestic product by 2025, powered by next-generation technologies such as 6G internet and big data.

The ambition highlights China's advances in new technology as it continues to rival the United States in areas from semiconductors to artificial intelligence.

In a document released last week, China's government, the country's top executive, said the "core industries of the digital economy" would account for 10% of its GDP by 2025, up from 7.8% by 2020.

The goals are part of China's 14-year five-year plan, a development plan that runs from 2021 to 2025. Last year, China highlighted areas of "frontier technology" in which it will boost research and aim for self-sufficiency. also more specific goals for the coming years.

For example, China aims for national online retail sales to rise from 11.76 trillion yuan by 2020 to 17 trillion yuan by 2025. It expects the software and information technology industry to rise from 8.16 trillion yuan by 2020 to 14 trillion yuan in 2025.

China expects users of gigabit broadband, the current fastest internet connection speed, to increase from 6.4 million in 2020 to 60 million in 2025.

In fact, boosting Internet connections and speeds is part of China's strategy to increase the digital economy's share of GDP.

China will promote the commercial rollout and large-scale use of 5G according to plan. 5G relates to the next generation of internet that promises super fast speeds. It has already begun to roll out in China and other countries.

But Beijing's plan also sets out ambitions in 6G or sixth-generation Internet. China plans to increase support for 6G research and development and be involved in the creation of international standards for 6G. China began laying the groundwork for work on 6G in 2019. The fifth generation has only just begun to roll out, and there are as yet no agreed standards or definitions of what 6G is.

The world's second largest economy is also aiming to take a larger role in shaping technology standards around the world, a move that analysts said could have major implications for Beijing's power in areas ranging from mobile internet to artificial intelligence. Standards are often globally agreed technical rules for how technologies work.

Regulation, chips in focus

China's plan also continues themes of self-sufficiency in areas such as semiconductors. The document covers other areas such as cloud computing, data center construction and cross-border e-commerce.

Beijing also promised to continue regulatory oversight of the domestic technology sector. Over the past year, China has tightened regulation for Internet companies and introduced new laws in areas from antitrust to data protection.

The Government document said it would examine the establishment of governance methods that are compatible with the "sustainable and healthy development of the digital economy." Beijing also said it would clarify the responsibilities of different regulators and strengthen cooperation between different authorities.

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