Technological innovation is believed to almost certainly be the key driving force behind long-term global economic growth, and its use has been strongly linked to market transformation, more robust international trade and improved living standards, analysts said at a Thursday conference in Beijing.
China's push to carve a niche for itself in global technology leadership has been relentless, claimed Wu Gansha, former director of Intel Labs China. Its rise in tech has been spurred by a number of larger tech firms, such as Tencent and Baidu. Now, more and more newly founded startups have joined the world of first-class tech innovation.
"What is awesome is the speed and effectiveness with which China has built the tech self-reliance initiative (Made in China 2025) from scratch," he said, pointing out the exemplary role of the nation's bicycle-sharing programs that are sweeping the globe.
More than 10 million bikes have been put onto streets around the country and more than 100 million people have registered to use the services, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Transport. Through 2016, the nation has seen a 700 percent increase in bike-share users.
"All it takes to obtain one from a bike-sharing service is a few taps on a smartphone," Wu added, explaining tech has contributed to an explosion of IT-based systems that make bike sharing equipped with GPS tracking and smart locks possible.
As a further attempt to explain the association between economic growth and tech innovation, Wu said, "It isn't hard to envision how advances in tech could lead to the automation of our future."
"Being hell-bent on advancing self-driving-vehicle technology, we want to create a world that ends all road related accidents and fatalities, as well as traffic jams by 2031, when commuters could save a third of travel time."
Wu said by then, the driverless, computer-driven cars would cut down on excessive parking requirements, boost mass transit and free up at least 30 percent of road-side and underground parking spaces for development.
Half of 65 Chinese entrepreneurs with a combined assets exceeding 100 billion yuan (.5 billion) responded to a questionnaire saying they would upgrade and transform themselves rapidly to become a force in the nation's fast-growing tech sector, said Liu Jing, a finance professor at China's leading business school Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business.
2016 saw a stable growth in the world's GDP, a trend obviously associated with recent high-tech innovations like artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud-computing, Liu said, adding this is despite some analysts' belief global trade has fallen to its lowest level since the recession in 2009.
"It was about trade only in traditional industries, not the tech world," Liu explained. He added the recent China-US trade dispute was a lagged effect of the global economic downturn since 2008 when talking about stronger economic outlooks in most emerging markets.