The following document, a spinoff of the March 2021 14th Five-Year Plan, describes China’s strategy for the growth of its big data industry through 2025. Although the big data plan includes very few quantitative targets for the industry, it does qualitatively describe the Communist Party’s near-term vision for China’s big data industry, which involves both making big data more broadly accessible and improving data security.
The Chinese source text is available online at: https://www.miit.gov.cn/zwgk/zcwj/wjfb/tz/art/2021/art_c4a16fae377f47519036b26b474123cb.html
An archived version of the Chinese source text is available online at: https://perma.cc/4NF2-FW6D
U.S. $1 ≈ 6.4 Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB), as of February 4, 2022.
“14th Five-Year” Plan for the Development of the Big Data Industry
Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
Data are important factors of production (生产要素) in the new era and are a fundamental national strategic resource. Big data is a collection of data, which is mainly characterized by large capacity, multiple types, fast speeds, a high degree of accuracy, and high value. Big data serves as a new driving force for economic transformation and development, offers a new way to improve government governance capacity (政府治理能力), and provides a new opportunity to reshape the country’s competitive advantages. As a strategic emerging industry, big data focuses on data generation, collection, storage, processing, analysis, and services. It is a critical support for activating the potential of data factors of production (数据要素) and an important engine for accelerating improvements to quality, efficiency, and momentum in economic and social development.
The 14th Five-Year Plan period [2021-2025] is a critical period for China’s industrial economy to move towards a digital economy, and new requirements are proposed for the development of the big data industry to allow it to enter a new stage of integrated innovation, rapid development, in-depth applications, and structural optimization. In order to promote the high-quality development of China’s big data industry, this plan is prepared in accordance with the overall deployments of the Outline of the People’s Republic of China 14th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and Long-Range Objectives for 2035.1
1. Development effectiveness
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period [2016-2020], China’s big data industry grew rapidly. According to estimates, the average compound annual growth rate in industrial scale exceeded 30% and will exceed 1 trillion Chinese yuan Renminbi (RMB) in 2020. Industry development has achieved remarkable results, and big data has gradually become a well-positioned industry (优势产业), supporting China’s economic and social development.
The policy system has gradually improved. The Party Central Committee and the State Council have made a series of strategic deployments around the digital economy, the data factor of production market, and the layout of the national integrated big data centers and have established an inter-ministerial joint conference system to promote the development of big data. Relevant ministries and commissions have issued more than 20 big data policy documents, and various localities have issued more than 300 related policies. 23 provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities, and 14 cities with independent planning status under the national economic and social development plan and sub-provincial-level cities have established big data management agencies with central and local collaboration to gradually form a regionally linked big data development and promotion system.
The industrial foundation has become increasingly consolidated. Our data resources are extremely rich, with a total volume ranking among the top in the world. Industrial innovation has become increasingly active, placing China as the world’s second-largest country in terms of relevant patents, with the total number of patents received accounting for nearly 20% of the global total. The infrastructure has been continuously consolidated, and the world’s largest fiber-optic network and 4G network have been built, and our number of 5G terminal connections exceeds 200 million, ranking China first in the world. The system of standards has gradually improved with the establishment of 33 national standards and the announcement of 24.
The production chain has taken shape. A big data product and service system centered on “data resources, basic hardware, general purpose software, industry applications, and security assurance” has taken shape with 338 outstanding big data products and solutions selected nationwide and 400 big data pilot demonstrations. Industry integration has gradually deepened, and big data applications have gradually expanded from fields with good data resources such as the internet, finance, and telecommunications to smart manufacturing, digital society, and digital government. Big data has also provided critical support in epidemic prevention and control as well as the resumption of production.
The ecosystem continues to improve. Regional agglomeration has achieved remarkable results, with eight national big data comprehensive test areas and 11 national new industrialization industry demonstration bases in the big data field. A number of leading big data companies have risen rapidly, forming an initial development pattern led by large companies with collaboration between small and medium-size enterprises and innovators. The industry’s support capacity has been continuously improved, and service assurance systems such as consulting services, evaluation, and testing have been basically established. The digital business environment has continued to improve, and the country’s e-government online service index jumped to 9th place in the world, claiming a position in the world’s leading echelon.
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, China’s big data industry made important breakthroughs, but there are still several limiting factors. First is society’s understanding of big data, and the big data concept of “using data to speak, using data to make decisions, using data to manage, and using data to innovate” has yet to solidify, as corporate data management capabilities are weak. Second is a lack of strong technical support. There is a certain gap between China and the world’s leaders in terms of basic software, hardware, open-source frameworks, and other key areas. Third is that the market system is imperfect, and basic systems and standards such as data resource property rights and transaction circulation must improve. Multi-source data has yet to become more open, data barriers are prominent, and fragmentation problems are serious. Fourth is imperfect security mechanisms. The data security industry’s supporting capacity is insufficient, and hidden dangers such as sensitive data leaks and illegal cross-border data flows still exist.
2. Confronting the situation
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