China to introduce ‘Data Element X’ plan to unlock data’s multiplier effects in diverse scenarios: official
Published: Nov 25, 2023 04:50 PM


China's newly created National Data Bureau (NDB) will collaborate with relevant departments to explore the implementation of a "Data Element X" initiative, focusing on unleashing the multiplier effects of data across a range of scenarios and facilitating the transformation of China's advantage in basic data resources into new economic strengths, an official said on Saturday.

NDB chief Liu Liehong introduced the plan at the Global Data Ecosystem Conference 2023 held in Shanghai on Saturday. He explained that data offers increasing returns at scale, as well as noncompetitive and low-cost replication. When applied to different entities and combined with various elements, it can generate multiplier effects of varying degrees.

From both the supply and demand ends, efforts will be made in a number of key areas such as intelligent manufacturing, commercial circulation, transportation and logistics, financial services and healthcare, to strengthen the traction of demand, break through circulation barriers, and improve the quality of supply, he said.

By accelerating the development and utilization of data across industries, it is possible to enhance the collaborative efficiency of various elements, identify the "optimal solution" for resource allocation, break through output boundaries, create new industries and business models, and achieve a multiplier effect driving economic development, according to Liu.

Data exhibits synergistic effects, and through the integration of different datasets, greater value can be realized, even addressing issues that may be beyond the capability of a single dataset, Wang Peng, an associate researcher from the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

It also possesses reusability. "The more it is used, the better, and its value increases with increased usage, continually generating added value," Wang said, citing the example of large language models.

Data elements will be deeply integrated into the real economy, people's daily lives, the transformation and upgrading of the economy, and the construction of a digital China. They will generate dynamic effects in various scenarios, such as finance, transportation and logistics, Wang said.

In 2022, the scale of data transactions in China had already reached 70 billion yuan ($9.79 billion), and it is estimated that the market will exceed 220 billion yuan by 2025, Wang Xiaoyun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said at the forum.

The nation's data industry has developed rapidly in recent years. From 2013 to 2023, the number of data-driven businesses surged from about 110,000 to over 1 million, Liu told the forum. Data-driven businesses are economic entities where data serves as the primary object or main raw material for business activities.

Since the establishment of the Shanghai Data Exchange two years ago, more than 1,700 data products have been listed, with total transactions of about 1 billion yuan.

At the forum, a data-trading chain was officially launched to serve the entire industry and processes of the data element circulation market. The chain will provide fundamental and value-added data trading services, data trading assurance services, and data asset financial services.

The NDB, administered by the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top economic planner, was inaugurated on October 25. It is responsible for advancing the development of data-related fundamental institutions, coordinating the integration, sharing, development and application of data resources, and pushing forward the planning and building of a digital China, the digital economy and a digital society, among other measures.