China working on 6G and cyberspace security

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 25, 2020
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Xia Xueping, president of the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies, along with his colleagues, hold a press conference to release blue-paper reports of the World Internet Development Report 2020 and China Internet Development Report 2020 during the 2020 World Internet Conference - Internet Development Forum, held in the waterside town of Wuzhen, in east China's Zhejiang province, Nov. 23, 2020. [Photo/]

China has already started R&D on the 6G network even while the 5G version is under massive commercial deployment around the country, witnessing continuous rapid progress amid big challenges in Internet development, according to two reports released by the Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies (CACS) on Monday. 

Xia Xueping, CACS president, said its researchers were striving to be comprehensive, accurate, objective and fair when compiling the reports as they extensively collected information, listened to opinions, collected materials related to internet development from 12 national ministries and commissions including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the National Bureau of Statistics, and combined the overall situation, basic data, and development achievements summarized by 31 provincial-level internet and information departments across the country. 

Such reports have been released annually since 2017. 

China leading digital economy and technologies 

In 2020, the construction of new-type infrastructure represented by 5G, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and industrial internet accelerated. Meanwhile, China, along with many other countries, have started to invest into the research and development of the next generation information infrastructure, namely 6G technology, according to the World Internet Development Report 2020, released during the 2020 World Internet Conference - Internet Development Forum, held in the waterside town of Wuzhen, in east China's Zhejiang province. 

Released in parallel, the China Internet Development Report 2020 noted that China had been continuously increasing investment in information infrastructure to empower intelligent social service applications. For example, China has built the world's largest information communication network, and by the end of May this year, the total number of optical fiber ports has reached 850 million, and the optical fiber network covered all urban and rural areas. The proportion of optical fiber network users has reached 93.1%, ranking first in the world. 

For 5G development, 2020 is a critical year. At present, more than 480,000 5G base stations have been built nationwide, and the number of 5G online terminal connections has exceeded 100 million. There were also 5.44 million 4G base stations in China, according to 2019 statistics, and the consumption of mobile-data traffic reached 122 billion GB, ranking first in the world. 

China's 5G technology also occupied a leading position in the world and the number of patent applications had gained an obvious advantage, with Huawei ranking first and ZTE third. 

As China has attached great importance to the development of science-technology frontier fields, such as Satellite Internet, quantum network, supercomputers, data centers, AI, industrial internet and wider IoT with in-depth innovation-driven development strategy, the country made many achievements in its digital economy. 

In 2019, the total scale and growth rate of China's digital economy ranked among first in the world with a scale of 35.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 36.2% of the country's GDP, while e-commerce transactions reached 34.81 trillion yuan with year-on-year increase of 6.7%. 

The total scale of the e-commerce live streaming industry reached 433.8 billion yuan and it is expected to double by the end of 2020. By June this year, the number of online videos (including short clips) and live stream users had reached 888 million and 562 million respectively. The total number of Chinese internet users is now 940 million. 

COVID-19 prompts internet booming 

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of the internet, while the digital economy has become an important force in mitigating the impact of the virus, reshaping China's economy and improving governance capability; and with the pandemic hitting global economic and social development, the digital economy is viewed as a new engine for global economic recovery, according to the two reports. 

The China report noted the role of China internet development in the pandemic became prominent as it was widely used in various services such as anti-epidemic empowerment, telemedicine, online education, sharing platforms, collaborative office, and cross-border e-commerce, helping China to achieve "decisive success" in the war against the pandemic. 

"We put enlightenment brought about by the severe test of the pandemic into the reports: human beings live in a global village that is interconnected and shared. Countries should abandon the zero-sum game thinking and establish a sense of a community of shared future where everyone has a stake," Xia said. 

Measures to address worsened cybersecurity 

But at the same time, internet security is under threat, for both China and the world. 

The overall situation of cybersecurity has become increasingly severe. Various traditional security attacks and threats still exist by more concealed and upgraded attack methods. The development of the network dark industry link became rampant. The integration of new technologies and new applications resulted in complex composition and rapid evolution of security risks, the report says. 

In the first half of 2020, the China National Vulnerability Database collected 11,073 system security vulnerabilities, an increase of 89.2% in the same period in 2019. Large-scale data breach incidents occur frequently, and in 2019, the National Internet Emergency Center (CNCERT) discovered more than 3,000 important breach risks and incidents, at the level of 100 million items, with the highest one at 2 billion items. 

Facing the threats, China has comprehensively improved its cybersecurity safeguarding abilities and established a security system for critical information infrastructure, promoted implementing supporting measures of China's Cybersecurity Law, and carried out special governance actions against illegal app collection and use of personal information. The country is also training more cybersecurity talents and investing more in education. 

"We must take notice that there are more uncertainties in the development direction of the global internet," Xia pointed out, "As trade protectionism and unilateralism have risen, global technological innovation, cooperation and exchanges, the industrial chain and the supply chain have been restricted and even destroyed; and the pace of R&D and construction of information infrastructure has slowed down." 

He added, "During the outbreak of COVID-19, false information and malicious information on the internet greatly increased and data and privacy security worried people. New governance problems derive from the iterative development of information technology, and the militarization of cyberspace becomes more and more evident." 

Facing an increasingly complicated international cybersecurity environment, China launched Global Data Security Initiative in September, committed to an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment, and opposed the use of information technologies to damage key infrastructure or steal important data of other countries, or illegally collect personal information. 

In 2019, the scale of China's cybersecurity industry was 50-60 billion yuan, with a growth rate of about 20%, the report cited statistics from the Cyber Security Association of China. 

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