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Big Data Investment Rises with China’s Growing Digital Economy

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As China’s digital economy rises, its appetite for more Big Data processing centres becomes more pronounced. As a response, the country plans to invest even more in this sector in the years to come. Specifically, China’s investment in big data centres is expected to grow by more than 20% annually during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). Thus, the cumulative investment in related fields is set to exceed 3 trillion yuan (US$ 471 billion), the country’s top economic regulator detailed recently.

Sun Wei, Deputy Director of the Department of Innovation and High-Tech Development at the National Development and Reform Commission, said the big data centres play a key role in supporting the operation of the digital economy.

The development of big data centres will drive the investment in upstream and downstream industries such as the research, development and manufacturing of information technologies and related products, telecom networks and energy. That also will drive the digital transformation and upgrading of the economy and society, promote the smooth flow and application of data and further boost the growth of China’s digital economy.

– Sun Wei, Deputy Director, Department of Innovation and High-Tech Development

China is investing significantly to attain its Big Data goals. The country has recently approved the building of eight national computing hubs and plans for 10 national data centre clusters. This is a way to boost overall computing power and resource efficiency, according to the NDRC.

The agency detailed that the eight national computing hubs will be built in the following areas:

  • Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region
  • Yangtze River Delta region
  • Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area
  • Chengdu-Chongqing economic circle
  • Inner Mongolia
  • Ningxia Hui autonomous regions
  • Guizhou province
  • Gansu province

The NDRC data showed that 25 new projects have been launched in the 10 national data centre clusters this year, driving a total investment of over 190 billion yuan (US$ 28,673,618,200). Among the total investment, the investment in western regions has grown by six times over last year.

In the next step, the NDRC said it will ramp up efforts to effectively spur the investment in upstream and downstream industries and promote the large-scale and green development of Big Data centres.

Think of Big Data as humongous library storage of books. Data collected could be structured, semi-structured or unstructured. By collecting all the needed data, organisations can have access to relevant information in their operations. For instance, banks and the financial sector will be able to discern trends in their customer habits and come up with needed regulations to encourage or discourage a particular behaviour. Without needed information, the ability of an organisation to act when it needs to can be greatly compromised.

Though Big Data doesn’t really put a limit on volume, data deployments have been labelled according to the size of the transaction. Thus, it can be called terabytes, petabytes and to a certain extent, even exabytes of data collected and processed.

China has been aggressive in the pursuit of its digital transformation. It’s easy to see that as more data become available from China’s digital economy, more data centres are needed. For instance, as it puts up its fourth 5G operator, that would mean more customer data and customer data transactions will happen.


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