Hangzhou hosts Global Digital Trade Expo

Wu Huixin
In its efforts to build a platform for digital trade and give a boost to digital economic development, Zhejiang will host the first Global Digital Trade Expo in Hangzhou next year.
Wu Huixin

Zhejiang Province has been striving for years to build itself into "a hub with the strongest digital economy in China."

In its efforts to build a platform for digital trade and give a boost to digital economic development, Zhejiang will host the first Global Digital Trade Expo in the city of Hangzhou next year.

The expo is the only national digital trade fair approved by the central government, co-sponsored by the Zhejiang government and the Ministry of Commerce, and co-hosted by the Hangzhou government, Zhejiang Commerce Bureau and Trade Development Bureau of Ministry of Commerce.

Hangzhou hosts Global Digital Trade Expo

For years, Zhejiang has been an attractive area with plenty of digital companies and a favorable business environment.

Last year, the added value of the digital industry was 701.9 billion yuan (US$110 billion), accounting for 10.9 percent of the province's gross domestic product and representing a year-on-year growth of 13 percent. The amount, growth rate and proportion all ranked fourth in China's digital industry. The total trade volume from digital business reached 433.4 billion yuan in 2020, up 20 percent from a year earlier.

Zhejiang government says the digital industry, along with its advanced manufacturing industry, will be its "dual engines" to drive the economy in the future.

Zhejiang has been accelerating the development of the digital economy as its e-commerce industry is at the forefront of the country. By the end of September, the import and export trade volume of cross-border e-commerce had reached 203.5 billion yuan, jumping 28 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, the digital services trade also continues to rise rapidly.

From January to September, the province had 145.5 billion yuan of import and export digital services volume, up 19.5 percent from a year earlier, accounting for 37 percent of general services trade.

At the same time, Zhejiang has built platforms to promote the digital economy. Since the establishment of the China (Zhejiang) Pilot Free Trade Zone in 2017, Zhejiang Province has enjoyed many unique opportunities to develop by virtue of its location, booming digital industry, thriving private economy and great port facilities.

In January, Hangzhou was given the green light to build a free trade zone in Binjiang District as part of the Zhejiang FTZ which currently has four sections – Zhoushan, Ningbo, Jinhua and Hangzhou. The zone covers 11.32 square kilometers and includes financial technology, artificial intelligence, digital security, integrated circuit, the Internet of Things and cloud computing companies.

Actually, the construction of such digital trade platforms started in 2016, when Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant Alibaba initiated the eWTP, a multilateral international collaboration and electronic trade platform that formulates new rules for international e-commerce, designed to benefit developing countries by making global buying and selling easier.

Zhejiang is also actively preparing for the establishment of the Digital Trade Standardization Technical Committee of Zhejiang Province and the introduction of a series of policies, which are expected to guide the development of the digital industry in the long term.

"As the host city of the expo, Hangzhou has set up nine special working groups for investment, exhibition, guest reception, comprehensive coordination and services during the expo," said Hu Wei, vice mayor of Hangzhou.

So far, about 70 percent of the 80,000-square-meter area in all seven halls has been completed. The expo will feature digital content, technology, logistics and cross-border trade.

Hangzhou will build an expo platform, providing participants with convenient digital services for viewing and exhibiting, operation support and management services for conferences and events. It will link to major platforms in Zhejiang Province to create an integrated open platform.

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