Sun, 17 Jan 2021

People visit the Light of Internet Expo of the 2020 World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, east China's Zhejiang Province, Nov. 22, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Xin)

HANGZHOU, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Shen Yue, a resident in the river town of Wuzhen, in east China's Zhejiang Province, stopped at a big screen and asked about the price of apples as she took a daily stroll in a park.

Immediately, she saw the price of apples, oranges, pomegranates, kiwi fruits, and grapefruits on the screen.

The 48,000-square-meter park, built in the 1950s, was recently upgraded into a park with almost everything 5G-supported. The chairs will automatically adjust to comfortable temperatures if someone sits down, and the air purifiers will work according to the air quality.

Thanks to the World Internet Conference, many changes like this have come to the river town and its residents over the past years.

On Tuesday, the World Internet Conference-Internet Development Forum concluded in Wuzhen, highlighting digital empowerment for a better future.

INTERNET-BASED MEASURES AGAINST COVID-19

Inside traditional structures in Wuzhen, patients are seeing doctors in a modern way -- via video calls. It is the first internet-supported hospital in China that was built here in 2015.

"Here at the hospital, doctors and patients don't need to sit face to face but can meet each other online and complete the whole diagnosis and prescription process," said Zhang Qunhua, president of the hospital.

Internet-based medical services developed rapidly this year. A total of 215 internet-based hospitals were established in the first half of this year, which nearly reached the total number of internet-based hospitals last year.

The Internet has made a big difference in the fight against COVID-19. Medical services, school reopenings, food deliveries, and many other aspects of people's daily life have been positively affected.

Statistics show that 140,000 schools, which include 120 million students, reopened in China with the help of the Internet. Alibaba's communication app DingTalk served more than 10 million enterprises and over 200 million people, and online job fairs have helped keep employment stable.

POST-PANDEMIC ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The Internet empowers industries. The Industrial Internet was one of the hot topics at this year's forum.

Earlier this year, the Chang'an Ford Chongqing Automobile Co., Ltd reached a cooperation agreement with Aliyun's Feiiplat to co-build an automobile industrial internet platform. It means the production efficiency will improve by 20 to 40 percent and costs saved by 10 to 20 percent.

"One of the most important things in the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025) is the development of the digital economy. It has already created a strong impetus for the Chinese market over the past years. Traditional products have become new ones with a touch of internet-related elements," said Wang Wei, head of the Institute of Market Economy, Development Research Center of the State Council.

The giant screen shows sales on Alibaba's e-commerce platform Tmall hitting 498.2 billion yuan (about 74.10 billion U.S. dollars) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) during the annual Singles' Day online shopping spree at Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, on Nov. 12, 2020. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

The Internet has helped promote economic recovery in China and countries around the world.

Earlier this month, more than 800 million shoppers, 250,000 brands, and 5 million merchants participated in this year's Singles' Day shopping spree, according to Tmall. E-commerce giant JD.com also scored big in the shopping extravaganza, with sales topping 243.1 billion yuan (35.76 billion U.S. dollars) between Nov. 1 and Nov. 11.

About 25,000 overseas businesses from more than 220 countries and regions participated in this year's shopping spree on Tmall. Many of them sought to revive their sagging business amid the pandemic by tapping into the massive Chinese market.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of the global economy, with the digital economy likely to become a significant force that reshapes the economic system and enhances governance capacity, said the World Internet Development Report 2020, released at the forum.

"The two-day forum, with the theme of 'Digital Empowerment for a Better Future, Building a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace' is very timely," said Liu Zhenmin, under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs of the United Nations.

"As the world embraces digital transformation, the need for international cooperation has become more urgent than ever. The international community welcomes China's initiative and engagement in global internet governance," he said at the forum's opening ceremony via video. ■

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