ZGC Forum held in Beijing to boost global tech cooperation, in stark contrast to US ‘decoupling’ push
Published: May 24, 2023 08:02 PM

Engineers of a service robot company set up a service robot at Zhongguancun Dongsheng science park in Haidian District of Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 15, 2022. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

Engineers of a service robot company set up a service robot at Zhongguancun Dongsheng science park in Haidian District of Beijing, capital of China, Aug. 15, 2022. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)

Zhongguancun (ZGC) Forum, a major technology forum, will kick off in Beijing on Thursday, aiming to spotlight frontier scientific and technological innovations in a wide range of emerging areas, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum science, and boost global technological cooperation. 

The ZGC Forum, which is to be held from May 25 to 30, will highlight China's commitment to boosting global cooperation in technology, in stark contrast to the US push for protectionism and technological decoupling along ideological lines, experts noted. 

Underscoring the solid global trend for cooperation despite disruptions, the forum will welcome guests from more than 80 countries and regions, and nearly 200 international organizations and institutions. About 120 top experts, including 17 Nobel Prize laureates, will deliver keynote speeches, with foreign speakers accounting for more than 40 percent of all presentations, according to official data. 

Under the theme of "Open Cooperation for a Shared Future," the forum will consist of more than 150 activities and 55 parallel forums on a wide range of topics, including AI, quantum science and brain computer interface. More than 650 tech companies, including 120 foreign companies and entities, will participate in the event, and technological achievements from more than 40 countries and regions will seek cooperation deals. 

"Judged from the scale of the forum, we can see that the will of the global tech industry to cooperate has not been changed. All still hope to have a stable and predictable technology ecosystem that fosters long-term development, which is what people want," Ma Jihua, a veteran tech analyst, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The ZGC Forum takes place in Beijing's famed tech district Zhongguancun, which has become an embodiment of China's innovation-driven growth and shoulders a significant mission in pursuing national technological advances. Building the ZGC Forum into a national platform facilitating global exchanges and cooperation on high-tech innovation is a crucial decision made by China's top leadership. 

Launched in 2007, the forum has grown into a global, comprehensive, open and high-level international event for enhancing innovations in science and technology.

"Through this forum, we want to send the world such messages, including that China's door for scientific and technological cooperation will only open wider," Wu Zhaohui, a vice minister of science and technology, recently told reporters. 

The forum is a significant event that shows China's openness toward global scientific and technological cooperation, even though the US government tries to crack down on such efforts, Sun Yuzhong, a researcher at the Institute of Computing Technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

As part of its containment strategy against China, Washington has launched a campaign to contain China's technological advances, including cracking down on Chinese technology companies and restricting exports of certain advanced technological products such as chips to China. 

However, this campaign as well as other factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic didn't stop China from advancing in emerging technologies such as AI, quantum computing and new-energy vehicles, analysts noted. 

"Another resounding message of this year's forum is that the three-year pandemic didn't stop China from advancing in high-end, cutting-edge technologies," Sun said, noting that China has made great strides in certain areas including its world-leading new-energy vehicles sector. 

The ZGC Forum was interrupted in 2022 due to the pandemic. This year, the forum will be a major platform to showcase the latest technological innovations and advances in areas such as the metaverse, robots and smart cars. More than 2,500 projects have participated in a competition for frontier science and technology achievements.

"Experts from all over the world have gathered in Beijing to participate in this forum, which also shows their confidence in the development of China's science and technology. It shows that the Chinese market is still very attractive to the world, and everyone is optimistic about the development of this market," Ma said. 

At this year's forum, there will also be several "firsts," including the first women's technological innovation forum, as well as data security governance and development forums, organizers said.