Source: China Daily
China's software and information technology service sector keeps growing fast, taking advantage of the huge opportunities offered by the digital economy.
Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show that the software sector's income in 2017 reached 5.5 trillion yuan ($854.32 billion), up 13.9 percent year-on-year, and the annual R&D investment of companies in the industry was nearly 11 percent.
"In the digital economy era, new technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data have injected new momentum into the software industry," said Wang Bingnan, vice-minister of commerce.
"Digital trade will become the main type of trading in the future," said Wang.
He made the remarks in a keynote speech at the 2018 China International Software and Information Service Fair, which was held from June 12 to 15 in Dalian, Liaoning province.
The fair attracted more than 750 companies from over 30 countries and regions including Israel, the United States, Canada and Japan. The fair's organizing committee said that more than 700 agreements had been made at the event, worth a total of 814 million yuan.
During the fair, the ministry issued the China Digital Trade and Software Export Report 2017, which showed that although the growth of China's software exports has slowed since 2016, its scale had increased significantly, and the value chain continued to be upgraded.
In 2017, China's software exports totaled $37.556 billion, 2.6 times the amount in 2011, an increase of 9.72 percent year-on-year.
Sun Wei, a professor of computer science and technology at Dalian Neusoft University of Information, said that domestic software companies' independent innovation continues to get stronger.
The report showed that China's software copyright registration volume has been growing significantly - from 100,000 in 2011 to 400,000 in 2016, and 700,000 in 2017.
Despite that, Sun said China's software industry and exports face many challenges, such as a lack of independent innovation of basic software tools and increasingly fierce global competition.
According to Jin Guowei, vice-mayor of Dalian, the city is a microcosm of China's development of software industry. With 20 years of development, the city now boasts nearly 3,000 software and information service companies, more than 200,000 software professionals, and the industry's annual operating income exceeds 100 billion yuan.