A Scientific and Technological Discussion at the Apsara Conference 2020: The Establishment of Think Tanks for the New Digital Economy Infrastructure

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Catch the replay of the Apsara Conference 2020 at this link!

By Wang Peijie, Director of Digital Transformation Operations, Alibaba Cloud Research Center

Over the past 12 years, the Apsara Conference has witnessed the vigorous development of scientific and technological innovation and the digital economy in China. During the same period, Alibaba Cloud has invested in digital intelligence technology, constantly challenged its limits, and fulfilled its prophecies. In 2020, a once-in-a-century pandemic hit the world. While the international pattern and governance system was forced to reshape, the digital economy was restructured at full speed. Under this background, the Apsara Conference 2020 gathered professionals from “production, education, and research” areas on the cloud. Twelve industry elites from national think tanks, scientific research institutions, consulting companies, and business schools were invited to interpret the digital economy, new infrastructure, industrial digital transformation, cutting-edge technologies, and economic growth trends.

New Infrastructure, New Opportunity

Liu Song, Vice President of Alibaba Group, Zhang Ying, Vice President of Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, and Su Cheng, General Manager of Alibaba Cloud’s Research and Strategic Consulting Department, held a thematic dialogue on how to embrace the new infrastructure in the digital age.

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They explained the connotations of the new infrastructure and the differences between the old and new infrastructures from different perspectives of industry and academia. They talked about how to construct an ecology that integrates software, hardware, and professionals. Also, they released the digital ecosystem plan jointly developed by Alibaba Cloud and the Guanghua School of Peking University. The plan aims to construct a rich and vivid digital case center and knowledge system to guide enterprises’ digital practices and enhance managers’ digital leadership. Through this plan, the two parties will jointly train a group of versatile and innovative talents who understand both technology and management.

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New Technology, New Economy

Wu Hequan, Former Vice President and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, delivered a wonderful keynote speech entitled “The Insight and Prospect of New Science and Technology in the Next Ten Years”. Regarding the evolution of Internet development, Wu said, “The Internet was first a network for academic research. After being applied to social applications, a large number of well-known Internet enterprises were born at home and abroad. With the emergence of mobile cloud computing and big data, the Internet has moved from digitalization and networking to intelligence, and now officially entered the era of the industrial internet.” Wu shared his opinions about the technology innovation trend in the next ten years, “The new business form of mobile communication is based on the wide network coverage and a certain scale of users. China started 5G construction in 2019 like other developed countries. Thanks to 5G’s capability in on-cloud intelligent integration, we have made ultra-clear video, VR, AR, Internet of intelligence, Internet of Vehicles (IOV), and other technologies. 5G will bring up more new applications beyond our imagination, making far-reaching influences on new business forms of 6G and all of society. The new infrastructure will further promote the development of Internet technology. The Internet will have more new technologies, new models, and new business forms.”

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Xing Ziqiang, Chief Economist and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley China, interpreted “Global Digital Economy and the Development of China”, explaining how science and technology will transform production, lifestyle, and consumption in the next ten years. He claims it will reshape the whole Chinese economy and the global economic pattern. Mr. Xing believes that there are three main factors in supporting the development of the Chinese economy in the future.

  • First, using digital technology to promote urbanization 2.0.

Mr. Xing made the following important trend predictions of the digital economy era from 2020 to 2030. “In the future, there will be 23 megacities in China, whose population is close to or more than the population of New York City (8 million.) Presently, there are only 9 megacities in China. The total market size of equipment within the Internet of Things, software, and IT services will double to USD 1 trillion, and the total investments in information infrastructures will reach USD 800 billion. In the field of automobiles, the market share of highly or fully autonomous cars will increase from 0% to 20%. In the field of education, the penetration rate of K-12, namely the basic education stage, online teaching will increase from less than 10% to more than 35%, the vocational training market will triple, and the online education market will reach USD 300 billion. The medical service market will reach USD 2.2 trillion.”

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The Release of New Infrastructure, the Cloud Index Report, and White Paper on Cloud Migration of Chinese Enterprises

Cloud computing is the foundation of digital technology infrastructure. It is of great significance for promoting the upgrading of industrial structure and the transformation of economic development mode. It enhances China’s international competitiveness and promotes sustainable economic and social development. Alibaba Cloud Research Center, in collaboration with the Institute of Financial and Economic Strategy of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, released the “New Infrastructure and Cloud Index: Research on the Value of Cloud Computing for China’s Economic Development.” In this paper, researcher Li Yongjian focused on the social and economic value, regional development assessment, and policy recommendations of cloud computing.

Liu Junlong, the leading partner of cloud services from Deloitte China, and He Baohong, the Director of the Cloud Computing and Big Data Research Institute of the China Academy of Information and Communication, jointly released the “White Paper on Cloud Migration of Chinese Enterprises”, sharing the path and interpretation of enterprises’ cloud migration. They explored how to connect social resources, shared services, and capabilities with cloud computing through the Internet to build China’s cloud computing industry system.

New Transformation, New Wave

Focusing on the digital industry, digital consumption, and digital governance, Xu Xiaolan, Dean of China Industrial Internet Research Institute, Shen Qiaowei, Deputy Director of the Marketing Department of the Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, and Meng Tianguang, Vice Dean of School of Social Sciences in Tsinghua University, provide their insights and views on digital transformation. Xu shared from the perspective of industrial Internet enabling industry integration and innovation, Shen from the post-pandemic era business development and consumer revival, and Meng from the new paradigm of governance modernization in the digital era.

The Launch of New Infrastructure Think Tank Platforms for the Digital Economy and the Inauguration Ceremony of the Expert Committee

The new economy is represented by the digital economy and has gained momentum in its transformation and growth. It has become a new driving force to lead the global economic transformation, accelerate social progress, and reconstruct the governance system. Accelerating the new infrastructure construction accelerates the construction of innovative ecology of infrastructure base, the application of new technologies, the incubation of new models, and the emergence of new business forms. Under the guidance of the information technology development department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, sponsored by Alibaba Cloud Research Center and China Enterprise Association Smart Enterprise Promotion Committee, with the involvement of the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, China Academy of Industrial Internet, Guanghua School of Management of Peking University, National Academy Of Economic Strategy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University, Chinese Institute of Electronics, Internet Society of China, KPMG, and Deloitte, the “New Infrastructure Think Tank Platform for Digital Economy” was established. Entrepreneurs and scholars concerned with the digital economy and artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, and other new infrastructure development were invited to join the advisory expert committee. Based on the principles of unofficial, non-profit, and internationalization, the think tank platform aims to build a leading, open, and shared communication platform for experts and scholars.

Zhu Hongren, Vice President of China Enterprise Confederation and China Enterprise Directors Association and Former Chief Engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, served as the representative of the think tank, introducing the purpose and work direction of the think tank platform. Zhu Hongren said, “Digitization is the main theme of today’s era. Building a new world of digital integration based on digital infrastructure is a glorious mission entrusted to us by this era. It’s a belief we should hold and a dream worth fighting for. Let’s drive the new future with digital intelligence together and become co-creators and partners of the new infrastructure of the digital economy!”

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Catch the replay of the Apsara Conference 2020 at this link!

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