China's top industry regulator said stabilizing industrial growth will be its top priority this year, and it will step up efforts to enhance the core competitiveness of manufacturing along with promoting the steady development of the industrial economy.
The industrial economy continued to recover and maintained stable growth in the past year, while the manufacturing industry has accelerated its digitalization push, said Tian Yulong, chief engineer and a spokesman for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Tian said the ministry has given full support to some emerging industries, including ultra-high-definition video, big data, virtual reality and intelligent photovoltaic. It has also ratcheted up efforts to boost the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The country has made a series of breakthroughs in key and core technologies, such as big data, cloud computing and blockchain, with the output from the high-tech manufacturing sector rising 18.2 percent year-on-year in 2021, Tian added.
The country's industrial output increased 9.6 percent on a yearly basis in 2021, 1.5 percentage points higher than GDP growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
Last year, the industrial output of 39 of the 41 industrial verticals saw year-on-year growth, the ministry said. Moreover, the production of industrial robots and integrated circuits grew by 44.9 percent and 33.3 percent, respectively, on a yearly basis.
"Cutting-edge technologies, such as 5G, big data, cloud computing and artificial intelligence, have found a wide range of applications across industries, injecting new vitality into the industrial economy," said Li Xianjun, an associate researcher from the Institute of Industrial Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The uptrend in China's industrial economy is likely to continue this year, Li said, adding state-of-the-art digital technologies are speeding up integration with the real economy and facilitating the high-quality development of the manufacturing industry in China.
Zhao Zhiguo, head of the ministry's information and telecommunications management department, said the country has sped up the construction of 5G base stations across the nation, with more than 1.4 million 5G stations built by the end of last year.
The country has bolstered the application of 5G with various sectors, including smart healthcare, education, energy, transportation, VR and augmented reality, Zhao said.
China leads the world in 5G development. Shipments of 5G phones in China skyrocketed by 63.5 percent on a yearly basis to reach 266 million units in 2021, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed.
More efforts should be made to support enterprises to participate in 5G international standards, advance the construction of 5G networks and expand its application scenarios, Zhao added.
In addition, the information and communication industry maintained steady and rapid development last year. Revenue of the telecommunications sector reached 1.47 trillion yuan ($231.7 billion) in 2021, up 8 percent on a yearly basis, 4.4 percentage points higher than that of the previous year, the ministry said.
Wang Zhiqin, deputy head of the CAICT, said 5G is expected to directly create over 3 million jobs by 2025, with aggregate information consumption brought by the commercialization of the wireless technology surpassing 8.3 trillion yuan.