Increased digital cooperation between China and the rest of the world will help nations combat the twin challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak and economic uncertainties, industry experts said on Tuesday.
"Since the pandemic has affected the entire global economy, emerging from the downturn will need not only urgent measures but also fundamental solutions. Digital economy is the key," said Xu Yu, executive director of China Info 100, a platform set up by 100 scholars, entrepreneurs and policy-makers to promote digitalization and informatization.
"Only by strengthening investment in online training and education as well as offering support for the digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises can the divide be reduced," Xu said at a forum on the digital silk road during the ongoing Digital China Summit in Fuzhou, Fujian province.
Xu's remarks came after an international digital education production base was officially launched on Tuesday in Binhai New City, a cluster for emerging industries, including big data and cloud computing, in Fuzhou.
Through cooperation with world-renowned publishers and universities, the base will produce digital education resources and accept orders to produce online educational content from overseas governments.
According to Xiong Li, CEO of NetDragon Websoft, the main operator of the base, the base has already received intent orders from several countries, including the production of 116,600 artificial intelligence-enabled courseware.
"The move embodies Fujian's greater determination to promote the construction of the digital silk road and drive more local companies to deepen cooperation with economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative," said Zheng Jianmin, vice-governor of Fujian.
China has called for intensified global cooperation in frontier areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology and urged the advancement of big data, cloud computing and smart cities.
Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising economic uncertainties, the nation has been beefing up digital efforts to unlock fresh growth engines.
"The pandemic is increasingly propelling the world to a digital future where people adapt to distance learning, working from home and putting technology at the forefront of life," said Xiong from Net-Dragon.
According to the UNESCO, over 56 countries and regions have closed schools temporarily due to the pandemic. It estimated that nearly 850 million students across the world would face disruptions to their academic schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"During this period, we have been exploring how our advanced technology and resources can help countries build a new online education ecosystem," said Xiong.
The Fuzhou-headquartered Net-Dragon has rolled out its online learning platform Edmodo to over 22 million students and over 1 million teachers in Egypt. The platform was also designated as the country's official online learning platform for the K12 students, or those in the educational system spanning kindergarten to the 12th grade.
"NetDragon hopes to cooperate with more upstream and downstream enterprises to jointly export more high-quality digital education resources to more economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative to fill the digital gap," he said.