Digitalization a rising frontier for China's global cooperation
Everything can be smart. This is the take-home message from the just-concluded Smart China Expo 2023 in southwest China's Chongqing.
On display here were power banks that can be rented after scanning the user's palm, windows that can automatically close when they detect a change in humidity before rain, and AI-powered garments that will inflate their gas bags before an elderly wearer falls to the ground.
They were among the thousands of innovative products and technologies exhibited at the expo, offering a glimpse into the groundswell of smart technologies, an intelligent form of digital technology, in China.
China is promoting deep integration of digital technology and the real economy, hoping to harness digitalization to create new growth engines and sharpen the competitiveness of traditional industries from automobile to manufacturing.
Smart automobiles are a major theme of this year's expo, where Xpeng's flying car, X2, drew much of the spotlight. With a silver body, gull-wing doors, and chopper-like rotating wings, the electric vehicle can be piloted with a touch screen.
"The flying car is equipped with an interactive operating system and can automatically take off and land, and can fly to a maximum height of 1,000 meters," said one staff member of the X2 exhibition booth, noting that the vehicle can drive on the road and take off to fly past congested roads, obstacles and rivers.
The country's booming digital sector has also drawn increasing attention from overseas. The expo was attended by 71 foreign companies and institutions that wish to explore the Chinese market and cooperate with their Chinese peers.
Mobileye, an auto tech firm from Israel, demonstrated at the expo its smart technologies, such as an advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), which it hopes to install on more Chinese-branded vehicles.
China's automobile sector is going through rapid digitalization, and the company is working closely with Chinese automakers such as SAIC and Geely to adapt to the local market, said Ben Wu, an engineer at Mobileye.
At the 2023 China CELAC Digital Technology Cooperation Forum, a sub-forum of Smart China Expo, officials and diplomats of Latin American countries noted China's ascendance in digital technologies and called for deeper cooperation.
Daniel Filmus, Argentina's minister of science, technology, and innovation, said digital technology possesses the potential to address specific challenges and enhance the well-being of people while expressing his aspirations for comprehensive collaboration with China to achieve mutual development goals.
The expo also witnessed the signing of 15 memoranda of understanding between Chinese and Singapore companies to promote cross-border digital collaboration in sectors from manufacturing to logistics.
Qiu Xiaoqi, China's special representative on Latin American affairs, said the digital economy has become one of the pivotal areas of China's international cooperation. China is willing to share new opportunities in the sector with the rest of the world, he said.