China’s digitalized service sector has played a more prominent role in stimulating consumption and creating jobs amid the country’s steady push for the integration of digital technologies and the real economy.
The scale of China’s digital economy reached 50.2 trillion yuan (about 7.12 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2022, accounting for 41.5 percent of the GDP and ranking second in the world, according to the Cyberspace Administration of China.
From buying film tickets to paying household water and electricity bills, a wide range of everyday activities are completed with just a smartphone, which not only brings a convenient experience for consumers but means fresh opportunities for businesses in various sectors.
For example, dish ordering systems by scanning a QR code at restaurants boosts per capita spending by 10 percent to 20 percent, the National Academy of Economic Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) said in a report, noting that such online-and-offline synergy increases customer traffic and drives up revenue growth.
Emerging online shopping platforms offering fast delivery within 30 minutes stimulate demand, easily accessible digital vouchers unleash consumption potential, and credit rating systems based on big data technology enable rapid growth of small retailers.
Internet platforms have shown great potential and resilience in promoting consumption, said CASS researcher Liu Yi.
A digitalized service sector has also helped keep stable employment, with the appearance of new occupations.
An increasing number of new occupations created in the expansion of the digital economy, such as ride-hailing drivers, streamers, takeaway riders, and online trainers, provide job seekers with new options of great flexibility.
Tian Dan, 34, became a takeaway rider in Shanghai two years ago. After graduating from middle school, she worked in electronics, toy, and garment factories and then ran a convenience store for a while.
Her diligence and passion for the new job let her stand out and won her a May Day national labor medal this year. “This job made us very proud,” she said.
Thanks to digital technologies, the process of getting hired has become much easier.
In the past four months, there were nearly 1,000 recruitment live streams held by employers on the Alipay platform, attracting over 60 million views in total. More than 1,000 public websites, 300 mobile applications, and 2,500 WeChat official accounts and mini-programs provided job-seeking services in a government employment promotion campaign earlier this year.
Digital platforms can play a better role in meeting labor demand, addressing job information asymmetry, and lowering the threshold of starting a business, Zhong Zeyu, vice president and secretary general of the China Association of Trade in Services, said and expected a more efficient job market of higher quality.
China has been keen on promoting economic digitalization. In the past five years, the digital economy has consistently been mentioned in the Chinese government’s annual work reports. During this year’s “two sessions” in March, the country announced a decision to set up a national data bureau.
An overall development plan was unveiled in February to speed up the construction of a digital China by 2025, with further progress in digital infrastructure, the digital economy, and digital technology innovation.