Digital economy an engine for post-pandemic recovery: Forum

By Zhu Bochen
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail ​, May 28, 2021
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Alice Law Shing-mui, deputy chairman and managing director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, speaks remotely during a plenary session of this year's Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum on May 22. [Photo courtesy of Tsinghua PBCSF]

Due to the rapid growth of digitalization and information technologies, the digital economy has helped lower transaction costs, barriers and industry friction, while also effectively improving the production capacity of the world economy in the post-pandemic era. This was the conclusion of experts at a plenary session of this year's Tsinghua PBCSF Global Finance Forum on May 22.

The session, themed "Digital Economics Boosting Global Economic Recovery," featured policymakers, economists and industrial leaders from around the world, who came together to discuss various companies' prospects regarding digital transformation and what role fintech will play in this process.

Alice Law Shing-mui, deputy chairman and managing director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, highlighted the importance of developing a digital economy to help facilitate a "healthier" global economic recovery.

She noted that while working to make the post-pandemic economy more inclusive, government bodies and central banks also need to establish a sound social framework based on the innovation of fintech companies. This should hopefully make the real economy more resilient to a potentially bigger crisis in the future.

Given the current digital divide, Law urged that more support should be given to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide them with easy access to services concerning logistics, energy, financing, payment and insurance.

Zhang Xiaoyan, associate dean and Xinyuan professor of finance at Tsinghua PBCSF, shared similar insights. By introducing the digital economy ecosystem in Chongqing's Dazu district, Zhang believed that the government's efforts in terms of infrastructure helped establish an orderly and healthy operating environment as well as effective supervision.

According to Zhang, the digital economy is nowadays facing an imbalanced development due to problems such as under-developed data-sharing systems, potential data leakage, misuse of data and data security loopholes.

Zhang thus called for more technological support from fintech companies to provide quality services and ensure safety. She suggested that the government innovate digital service models and improve the relevant infrastructure, and that enterprises introduce new business models to facilitate their digital transformation.

Although they bring profound development opportunities to the global economy, digital technologies also give rise to challenges concerning personal privacy, inclusiveness and anti-discrimination. This makes global digital governance necessary, said Santiago Fernández de Lis, head of Financial Systems and Regulation at BBVA Research, a research body at Spain's second-largest bank, the Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA).

"We must have enough flexibility to respond to future challenges and carry out international cooperation in areas like data supervision and data rules," Fernández de Lis noted.

He further urged that a minimum global standard be put in place for cross-border data flow and that global collaboration should focus on fair competition in the digital market as well as the correct use of cloud computing and data security.

He also encouraged the participation of supervising bodies of all countries in the fields of data protection, anti-money laundering, cybersecurity and finance, as well as the central banks. "The public decision-making departments and private companies can cooperate together to discuss these important issues," he stressed.

This has brought new requirements for corporate and social responsibilities among tech companies. Ye Wei, CEO of 58 Digital Technology, believed that companies in this sector should be aware of the role they play in the context of the greater economy and have a strong sense of social responsibility. Ye urged these companies to make more contributions and join the national construction of digital infrastructure.

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