During the eighth Five-Year Plan period, most common urban residents
of China hardly felt the influence of the information industry on
their lives. However, nowadays, they have voiced mounting complaints
about the service quality of the telecom industry just as they did
about the quality of sneakers, water heaters and furniture in those
During the ninth Five-Year Plan period, China's information industry
has emerged prominently as a new growth point of China's national
economic development, becoming the principal part of hi-tech industry
and the representative of new productivity. Information industry
not only has exerted significant influence on Chinese people's daily
life, more importantly, it has become an important indication of
China's comprehensive national strength as well. It is acknowledged
as the strategic industry for China's economic and social development
in the next century.
Industry Sees Rapid Development
During the ninth Five-Year Plan period, the annual increase rate
of China's information equipment manufacturing and service industries
has stayed at over three times as much as that of the GNP. The gross
output value of electronic information products manufacture (software
manufacture included) surged from 245.7 billion yuan in 1995 to
778.2 billion yuan in 1999. The gross value of communication services
ballooned from 98.9 billion yuan in 1995 to211.3 billion yuan in
1999. This remarkable development speed has laid a foundation for
China to become a large information technological product manufacturer.
In the year 2000, China will no longer be a country which can only
produce color TVs. The country, which used to produce mainly low-grade
consumer goods, has now comprehensively effected a shift to the
manufacture of investment-related hi-tech products.
Program-controlled switchboard is a crucial product in realizing
the "group breakthrough" in the manufacture of information
technological equipment. During the ninth Five-Year Plan period.
China completely changed the situation featuring the domination
of program-controlled switchboard by the "Eight-Power Allied
Forces". Of the newly installed program-controlled switchboards
in the public network of telecommunications in 1998, 98 percent
was homemade equipment. The market share of the type China developed
independently exceeded 50 percent. In 1999, the routing product
(key network equipment) produced by several Chinese enterprises
made its debut in the market, which represents another major breakthrough
in the manufacture of China's information equipment.
During the ninth Five-Year Plan period, computer, standing side
by side with the program-controlled switchboard, has become another
crucial product in realizing the "group breakthrough".
In 1996, homemade computers, presented by "Legend", are
a domestic brand having a leading market share for the first time
on the Chinese market. In 1998, the occupancy rate of China's own
brand microcomputers reached 72 percent in the domestic market.
In 1998, enterprises producing color TVs among the domestic top
100 electronic enterprises lost their first place for the first
time. The fact that investment-categorized electronic product manufacturers
outdid consumer-oriented electronic product-making enterprises was
regarded as a milestone in the development of manufacturing industry.
Presently, China has been able to produce nearly all the computer
components with the exception of CPU and other core parts. These
parts and components are used in foreign computers of various brands.
In the field of large computer, at the end of the eighth Five-Year
Plan period, the peak value of Shuguang (twilight) 1000 reached
2.5 billion per second, while the arithmetic speed of the peak value
of the recently published Shenwei-I ("Invincible Might")
came to 384 billion floating-points per second, ranking 48th among
the world's top 500 supercomputers now in business operation. Its
main technological indexes and functions have reached advanced international
level. China has become the third country after the United States
and Japan, capable of developing such computer of high performance.
During the ninth Five-Year Plan period, China has carried out a
comprehensive rearrangement for the development of information industry
so as to promote the formation of several enterprise groups, which
are internationally competitive, and set up an information industry
system which may grow up independently.
IT Becomes a Strategic Industry in Promoting Structural Readjustment
During the ninth Five-Year Plan period, China's information industry
has not only made its contribution to the national economy and played
its role in promoting other industries, but has also become a strategic
industry boosting the readjustment of China's economic structure.
In the ninth Five-Year Plan period, the popularity rate of telephone
has reached 16 percent, in urban areas, 29 percent. The proportion
of the administrative villages, which have telephone services, hit
85 percent. By the end of the ninth Five-Year Plan period, fixed
telephone and mobile telephone subscribers will have reached 140
million and 73 million, respective increases being 100 million and
69 million over the end of the eighth Five-Year Plan period. Users
of data and multi-media communications will have reached nearly
6 million. The scales of fixed communication network and mobile
communication network will rank second and third in the world respectively.
The formal opening of China's public computer Internet in 1996 marked
the rise of the new economy which takes Internet industry as main
characteristics. Since then, a series of "golden" projects--
"golden bridge", "golden pass", "golden
card", "golden tax", etc, were put into operation
successively. In several short years, China have established more
than 300 ISP (Internet Services Provider) companies and more than
1,000 ICP (Internet Content Provider) companies in succession. According
to the statistics from the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information
Center), China has had more than 169 million netizens and more than
15,000 Chinese websites. The application of Internet in China is
developing from general information browsing to the Internet economy.
The scale of the information infrastructure and its influence on
the production and operation mode of the traditional industry has
greatly impacted China's traditional industry. Meanwhile, it has
also brought about new technologies and new application space to
traditional industries such as transportation, electric power, iron
and steel, automobile and machinery, as well as finance, insurance,
and other service trades. Developing the applied technology urgently
needed in the readjustment and upgrading of the industrial structure,
the renovation and improvement of traditional industries, the promotion
of industrial development and the development of informationization
has become an extremely important part of the expansion of information
industry and will finally affect the reform of China's industrial
structure and state-owned institutions in the future.
(People's Daily 09/25/2000)