Vigorous industry, prospects for cooperation observed at Hangzhou digital trade expo

At the first Global Digital Trade Expo in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, exhibits of leading-edge digital technologies have blown away visitors.

Can you imagine employing a robot to cook, mow lawns, take care of the elderly and do other chores? At the first Global Digital Trade Expo in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, exhibits of leading-edge digital technologies make visitors believe that such scenes may soon become a part of real life.

The four-day expo, which concluded on Wednesday, gathered more than 800 leading digital trade companies from home and abroad to share the latest trends in digital technologies and services, and steer cooperation in the digital economy onto a fast track.

A total of 37.4 billion yuan (about 5.37 billion US dollars) worth of tentative deals were reached in the inaugural version of the expo, said the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Easier life, safer work environment

The Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot developed by Tesla, was a star at the expo. According to Xie Yun of Tesla, the robot is capable of going up and down stairs, squatting, grasping tiny objects, and operating mechanical devices. It can also perform tasks that are considered unsafe and repetitive.

The robot is expected to enter mass production in 3-5 years, Xie added.

Similarly eye-catching was a 5G intelligent cockpit, a smart port simulation system now operating at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, a major port in east China. It enables the testing of virtual intelligent unmanned trucks in a virtual wharf under various scenarios and weather conditions, reducing testing costs and human safety risks.

Meanwhile, the cockpit also allows the supervision of multiple trucks simultaneously by only one person, who can solve problems through remote control as soon as faults and complex situations occur, said Shen Qian, senior marketing manager of Beijing-based, developer of the cockpit.

A video featuring a remotely controlled unmanned digger also demonstrated the power of digitalization in ensuring safe operation. Developed by the NetEase Fuxi Lab and China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp., the digger can operate in an oxygen-deficient environment at minus 20 degrees Celsius and 4,000 meters above sea level.

Great potential for cooperation

Digital trade has injected new impetus into world economic recovery and global trade growth. According to data released at the Global Trade Expo, China's digital services trade volume reached 1.2 trillion yuan in the first half of 2022, up 9.8 percent year on year, while the export volume within the overall digital services trade volume rose 13.1 percent to 682.8 billion yuan.

Cambodian longan farmers had been beset by a poor market. Through cooperation at the Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP), a project was launched at the expo in Hangzhou to sell Cambodian longan via e-commerce in China.

"I wish this eWTP partnership between Cambodia and the Alibaba Group to be fruitful," said Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak at the expo via video.

China's booming digital trade delivers great opportunities for investment in technologies, said Julia Mateos Caro, general manager of the Hangzhou factory of pharmaceuticals company Sanofi, at the expo.

"Through innovation, we are taking advantage of creativity and digitalization to promote efficiency to create high-quality products in the market," she added.

Beyond trade, digital technology has also played a role in cultural exchanges, displaying great potential for global cooperation in this area.

At the expo, Li Zhirong, deputy dean of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Zhejiang University, presented a special digital archive highlighting cultural relics restoration efforts in Nepal, following a devastating earthquake that struck the country in 2015.

Composed of video clips, high-definition graphics, and 3D point cloud data, the archive, created on-site by the Zhejiang University team, documented the restoration process of the landmark Nine-Storeyed Basantapur Palace complex in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, especially the traditional Nepali building craft.

"The digital archive embodies cultural exchanges between China and Nepal. I hope it could serve as a shared asset of the two peoples," said Li.

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