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  • China digital economy reaches 30pc of GDP
        Date:2017-12-06 

    The mainland's digital economy accounts for nearly a third of gross domestic product, according to a report released at an annual cyberspace conference staged by the government to justify its strict internet censorship.

    Beijing this year has dramatically strengthened its already tight regulation of the internet, but officials have used the fourth World Internet Conference to declare Chinese cyberspace is "open"- though subject to controls for the greater good.

    The report, unveiled in Wuzhen by the state-linked Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies, said the mainland's digital economy reached 22.58 trillion yuan (HK$26.52 trillion) last year, according to conference organizers.

    That figure is second only to the United States and accounts for 30.3 percent of the country's overall economy.

    China's digital economy has exploded in recent years due to a surge in e-commerce and the use of smartphone apps for a range of daily activities including ordering food, hailing taxis, messaging and playing electronic games.

    The report assessed global internet development from a number of factors including industry capacity and "governance," China's code word for restrictions.

    The three-day conference was set up to counter Western criticism of its internet restrictions, which include blocking Facebook, Twitter and other foreign platforms, and bans on a range of content deemed politically threatening to the Communist Party.

    China has cracked down even harder this year, including enacting new rules requiring foreign tech companies to store user data inside the country, imposing fresh content restrictions, and making it more difficult to use software tools that allow users to circumvent censors.

    Apple has come under fire recently for cooperating with mainland authorities in purging its app store of software such as Skype that feature secure communications.

    And Google is thought to be seeking a return to China after pulling out years ago in a row over censorship and alleged cyberattacks.



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