China makes great strides in computing power, 5G in 2023, as nation pursues sci-tech self-reliance
US containment won’t hold back nation’s pursuit of sci-tech self-reliance: experts
Published: Jan 19, 2024 09:52 PM
5G Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China's scale of computing power in 2023 ranked second in the world and the number of domestic artificial intelligence (AI) enterprises surpassed 4,400, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) revealed on Friday, underscoring the nation's steady progress in multiple key technology sectors and improving innovation capability. 

Also on Friday, China held a ceremony for the National Engineer Awards, honoring 81 individuals and 50 teams for outstanding contributions to the field of engineering technology. Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged high-level sci-tech self-reliance to serve high-quality development in his instructions delivered on the ceremony, according to Xinhua News Agency. 

China's solid progress in domestic sci-tech innovation highlights the country's increasing technological capabilities and shows that the US-led attempt to contain China's technological rise has not and will not hold back China's technological development, experts said. 

Tao Qing, an official from MIIT, said during a press conference held on Friday that China has made remarkable progress in the computing power sector, as the country ranked second globally in terms of the scale of computing power. Tao added that China's innovation capability in cloud computing and big data has also ranked in the top tier globally. 

"China now has over 4,400 domestic AI enterprises, and developed world-leading system integration capability in multiple industries such as steel, petrochemical and lithium batteries," Tao noted. 

The development of computing power and AI technology demonstrated that China has the ability to process big data on a large scale or conduct complex computing, which will assist the development of scientific research, engineering design and financial analysis, Wang Peng, an associate researcher at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday. 

Officials from MIIT also attributed China's growing industrial digitalization to progress in development of 5G. 

At the end of 2023, the number of 5G base stations across the country reached 3.377 million, further ensuring the operation of the nation's network infrastructure. The number of 5G mobile phone users has reached 805 million nationwide, and 5G directly driven economic output is expected to hit 1.86 trillion yuan ($261.20 billion) in 2023 according to analysis, up 29 percent from the level in 2022, Zhao Zhiguo, chief engineer and spokesperson of the MIIT, told the press conference. 

"The expanding 5G network has accelerated and supported China's industrial digitalization, which will greatly change the way people live and work," said Wang. He noted that China's rising position in global technology will significantly help break the scientific and technological hegemony of Western countries, and will promote changes in the global scientific and technological governance system.

While China and the US have resumed communication in various fields, Washington's containment of China in the high-tech sector is unchanged, with the US House of Representatives' China committee intensifying its scrutiny of US chipmakers with interests in China by asking CEOs of industry giants to testify before Congress.

The US House of Representatives' China committee has sent letters to Intel, Nvidia and Micron, summoning their chief executives to testify before the Congress, the Financial Times reported on January 12 this year.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Beijing-based Information Consumption Alliance, told the Global Times on Friday that the US may come up with more measures to contain China's high-tech sector in 2024, which will only prompt China to accelerate domestic development in the sector.

Meanwhile, despite US restrictions, foreign chipmakers are still increasing their investment in the Chinese market due to its promising potential. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon said in a recent interview with Yuyuan Tantian, a social media account affiliated with China Media Group, that their business in China has expanded over the past few years. 

US chipmaker Nivida plans to begin mass production in the second quarter of 2024 of an AI chip it designed for China to comply with latest US export rules, according to foreign media reports. 

"US chip enterprises' continuing expansion of business in the Chinese market reflected a wider cooperative space between the two countries across high-tech sectors such as chips, AI, 5G and cloud computing, despite disputes in some areas. The cooperation will also benefit the development of the global market and relevant industrial chain," said Wang.