China's IPv6 active users exceed 700 million, aiming for more robust digital development


China saw new and major progress in building a digital country, with more than 700 million of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) active users by the end of 2022 as one of the achievements, according to a press conference on Monday ahead of the sixth Digital China Summit to be held in Fuzhou, southeast China's Fujian Province.

A total of 2.31 million 5G base stations had been built in China by the end of last year, with gigabit optical networks able to reach more than 500 million households. The number of mobile Internet of things (IoT) connections has surpassed the number of mobile phone users for the first time, making China the first country in the world to reach this milestone, said Cao Shumin, vice minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China.

With 718 million IPv6 active users, China ranked first globally by December 2022, trailed by India with 495 million users and the U.S. 155 million, according to a white paper on 2022 global IPv6 support released in January.

The IPv6 adoption rate in China was "in a stage of rapid growth" in 2022, increasing by 110 million in a single year, said the white paper.

A main driving force of economic growth

China remains the world's second-largest digital economy, which has become one of the main engines driving the country's economic growth, said Cao.

In 2022, the operating revenue of the electronic information manufacturing industry reached 15.4 trillion yuan (about $2.2 trillion), and the revenue of the software business reached 10.8 trillion yuan, surpassing 10 trillion yuan for the first time.

The digital transformation of industries has been deepened. Last year, the application rate of information technology in agricultural production exceeded 25 percent. The industrial internet was integrated into 45 categories of the national economy, with online retail sales accounted for a record high of 27.2 percent of the total retail sales of consumer goods.

The digital development has facilitated people's livelihood as well. A total of 208 governments at provincial and municipal levels have launched open data platforms, and e-government services have been further improved with high efficiency and convenience.

In 2022, China also launched a smart education platform, building the world's largest public reservoir of education and teaching resources. In healthcare, more than 26.7 million telemedicine services were provided nationwide.

Building a solid foundation for digital economy

Digital technology is the foundation for promoting the development of digital economy and a strong driving force for the development of the real economy, said Chen Jiachang, director general of the Department of High and New Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology at the press conference.

Chen said the ministry has always attached great importance to the development of digital technology, and has made systematic deployment based on the national science and technology plans in various aspects, especially basic technology, application and security of digital technology.

For example, the ministry has set up a specific office to plan and promote artificial intelligence (AI) development. Major new-generation AI projects have been launched, with corresponding deployments in digital twin technology, digital manufacturing and smart medicine.

In terms of cyber and digital technology security, Chen said the ministry has coordinated cross-field scientific research missions focusing on the security protection of critical infrastructure, data right confirmation, privacy protection, intelligent manufacturing and other new technologies and applications.

Starting from April 27, the two-day summit will focus on accelerating the building of a digital China and promote Chinese modernization. A report on the country's digital development will be released at the summit.

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