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HOME>NEWS&EVENTS>NEWS BRIEFING>Digital economy exp...
Digital economy expected to spur consumption

Author:GAO YING     Source: Chinese Social Sciences Today     2022-08-19

Scholars expressed high expectations of the digital economy in improving demand and boosting consumption at the Summit Forum on High-Quality Development of China’s Digital Economy, which was convened on July 29 in Beijing under the theme of “Digital Economy Promoting New Consumption Models.”

According to data released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China’s digital economy has ranked second in the world for several years consecutively, playing a growing role in driving economic growth. In the first half of 2022, the “contactless economy,” typified by models like online shopping and telemedicine, was accelerated in an all-round way, and the digital industry maintained a good growth momentum, injecting strong impetus into economic development. The total revenue of electronic information manufacturing, software, communication, and internet industries exceeded 10 trillion yuan, showing a steady and positive development trend, and increasing industrial resilience.

“Despite the fallout from the pandemic, many cities in China saw a sound momentum of consumption growth, largely due to the digital economy, which has improved demand, increased supply, and promoted the match between supply and demand,” said Liu Tao, deputy director of the Institute of Market Economy at the Development Research Center of the State Council.

Liu pointed out that the digital economy can lift and optimize consumption particularly in terms of enhancing supply. Many products have become more attractive and capable of upgrading consumption quality after digital technology is applied. He added that the digital economy can effectively transform consumption models from offline to online, and digital technology can inspire the creation of consumption scenarios and enhance brands’ influence. In addition, the digital economy can also help narrow regional and urban-rural gaps in consumption.

Improving employment is the foundation for increasing consumption, said Li Yang, director of the Academic Division of Economics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and a CASS Member. The platform economy has revolutionized traditional employment and played an increasingly prominent role in creating jobs, Li said, calling for attention to resultant labor market trends. Flexible employees are likely to become the main body of future employment, he predicted.

According to Cai Fang, chief expert of CASS National High-End Think Tank and a CASS Member, the demographic situation determines that constraints on China’s economic growth are shifting from the supply side to the demand side. At this stage, fiscal policy will have a bigger role to play, and the direction of expenditure will significantly change. He suggested China’s economic and social policies, to a certain extent, shift focus from traditional market entities to households and consumers. With the advancement of big data and algorithms, the digital economy can play a greater role in facilitating policy implementation.

Shen Jianguang, vice president of JD.com, chief economist of JD Digits, and an adjunct professor at Fudan University, comparatively analyzed the economic situation at home and abroad based on statistical data, and proposed reasonably dealing with possible risks posed to China’s economic development by the “Great Stagflation” that many Western economies are mired in.

Shen said that China’s economy picked up at a relatively fast pace in June, which fully reflects its strong resilience. For the next step, he advised that measures such as issuing consumer coupons nationwide be considered to promote the consumption of automobiles, home appliances, and computer products, and invigorate new types of brick-and-mortar enterprises to stabilize employment, consumption, and growth, so as to expand domestic demand and stabilize growth.

The forum was co-sponsored by CASS’s Academic Division of Economics and JD.com, and undertaken by CASS’s National Academy of Economic Strategy and JD.com’s Economic Development Institute, in a combination of online and offline formats. Two research reports were released, titled “Typical Cases of New Types of Brick-and-Mortar Enterprises Advancing Real Economy” and “Report on High-Quality Development of China’s Digital Economy,” respectively.

Editor  :  Yu Hui

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