‘Blockchain Day’, a commemorative day dubbed in favour of China’s new appetite for blockchain after it an endorsement by President Xi Jinping. The technology, which is most notable for its use in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, was described as “a key breakthrough that can facilitate China’s progress in core technologies” by Xi recently.
Coming a long way, China was once seen as an imitator when it came to technology, is now looking to take the lead in areas from blockchain to artificial intelligence (AI), technologies that are seen as critical to the future.
The future of AI, blockchain, financial technology and smartphones garner wide attention among China’s technological endeavours in the last few years. As the tech sector matures more exciting things will come from China. SoftBank recently invested in Zhong An International to help it expand in Asia. Zhong An uses blockchain technologies extensively and is one of the leaders in China.
A lot of the blockchain technical innovation will continue to happen globally. But China is good at leveraging innovation into application. On the one hand, China with its pace can pull the global enterprise blockchain sector forward, and it’s likely to in Asia.
Besides Blockchain, we now look at a few other areas in tech for China.
5G refers to next-generation mobile networks that promise faster data speeds and low latency. Quicker speeds at which data arrives from the time it is summoned is the key to underpin technologies like driverless cars which cannot afford any lag in data. China recently turned on its 5G networks ahead of a previously-announced 2020 timeline. They are ahead.
The country will account for the largest number of 5G connections by 2025, more than North America and Europe combined, according to mobile industry body GSMA.
China’s rapid rate of AI adoption is setting a precedent of what’s to come with blockchain.
In 2017, Beijing laid out plans to become the world leader in AI by 2030, with the aim of making the industry worth 1 trillion yuan ($147.7 billion). Chinese tech firms are pumping a lot of money into developing AI, and both countries have launched their own national strategies around it.
China has rolled out AI uses, such as facial recognition
technology, on a large scale. Tech titans in China has been implementing the
technology very fast in facial recognition, speed recognition, self-driving
vehicles, smart cities and medical diagnoses.
China has created five unicorns in AI in the past few years. And these were companies that were founded between two to five years ago. So, this is really how fast it’s been. China is closing the technological gap with the United States, and will soon be one of the leading powers in technologies
Fintech firms such as Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial which runs the popular Alipay mobile payments app are tell-tale sign fintech is booming in China. Global investment in fintech ventures more than doubled in 2018, to $55.3 billion, with China accounting for around 46% of that figure, according to Accenture.
Mobile payments — or paying with a scanned code on your phone — is one area in which China has led the way. Alipay and Tencent-owned WeChat Pay can be used all over the country from big department stores to street stalls. These services are also known as “superapps” because within the platform, a user is able to get other products from micro-loans to wealth management products. In essence, consumers are able to bypass the banks with the superapps.
Banks around the world that may want to see what is the disruption coming ahead, they don’t look at Silicon Valley anymore. They’d rather look at China and Asia.”
Earlier this year, the China’s central bank issued a 3-year “fintech development plan” with the aim of making China the world leader in fintech.