The following white paper, issued by a PRC state-run think tank, calculates China’s total computing power as 135 exaflops. The white paper also compares China’s compute with other countries, and compares the computing power of different Chinese provinces and regions. The white paper omits Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan from its calculations. It also estimates general purpose compute numbers based on servers only, excluding PCs, mobile phones, and other terminal devices.
The Chinese source text is available online at: http://www.caict.ac.cn/kxyj/qwfb/bps/202109/P020210918521091309950.pdf
An archived version of the Chinese source text is available online at: https://perma.cc/YS34-L84C
U.S. $1 ≈ 6.4 Chinese Yuan Renminbi (RMB), as of November 10, 2021.
White Paper on China’s Computing Power Development Index
China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT)
The copyright of this white paper belongs to CAICT and is protected by law. “Source: China Academy of Information and Communications Technology” should be indicated in any use of the text or opinions of this white paper through reproduction, excerpting, or other means. CAICT will pursue the relevant legal liabilities of violators of the above Statement.
A new round of science and technology (S&T) revolution and industrial transformation is now reshaping the structure of the global economy. As a new productive force (生产力) in the digital economy era, computing power is the solid foundation supporting the digital economy’s development. It plays an important role in driving S&T progress and promoting digital transformation, as well as in supporting digital society development. Computing power has become a new focus of global strategic competition. It is an important engine of national economic development, and the computing power of countries around the world shows a significant positive correlation with their economic development level.
The development of China’s computing power accelerated in 2020 despite headwinds, and displayed the following characteristics:
The scale of computing power continued to expand, and the structure of computing power continued to evolve. China’s computing power still maintained a vigorous development trend in 2020, increasing by 48 exaflops (EFlops) year-on-year to reach a total scale of 135 EFlops. In the context of the global epidemic, China’s computing power nonetheless maintained a high growth rate of 55%, about 16 percentage points higher than the global growth rate, effectively supporting epidemic prevention and control efforts and economic and social development. In terms of computing power structure, basic computing power remained the main force, but intelligent computing power (智能算力) has increased rapidly. With its share of the total now exceeding 40%, it has become a driver of rapid growth in computing power.
The environment for computing power is being increasingly optimized, and application demand is rising constantly. First, constant optimization of the network environment is providing solid support for computing power development. On the one hand, network bandwidth continues to grow: In 2020, inter-provincial internet export bandwidth nationwide increased by 11%, boosting cross-regional dispatching of computing power. On the other hand, 5G coverage continues to increase, which is accelerating cloud-edge-terminal computing power collaboration. Second, constantly increasing investment in computing power is providing momentum for computing power development, with China’s information technology (IT) spending reaching 2 trillion [Chinese] yuan Renminbi (RMB), an increase of 7.3%. Third, the internet remains the largest industry in terms of computing power demand, accounting for nearly 50% of total demand for computing power, and the telecommunications and finance fields are at industry-leading levels when it comes to the application of computing power.
As computing power boosts economic growth, the pace of development is accelerating everywhere. The scale of China’s computing power industry, represented by computers, reached RMB 2 trillion in 2020, directly driving RMB 1.7 trillion in economic output, and indirectly driving RMB 6.3 trillion in economic output. That is, each 1 RMB invested in computing power drives 3-4 RMB of economic output. The pace of computing power development has accelerated nationwide. The overall computing power development of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area are at leading levels. The scale of computing power in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and their surrounding provinces and regions is especially prominent: Beijing, Guangdong, and Shanghai are the top three in rank, each with more than 15 EFlops. In terms of computing power environment, the four major urban agglomerations have good network support, computing power investment, and other environmental conditions. And in terms of computing power application, the eastern coastal provinces have greater consumer and industrial application demand, which has a significant pulling effect on computing power growth.
Accelerating the development of computing power is an important guarantee for China to create new advantages in the digital economy, to build the “dual circulation” (“双循环”) new development pattern (新发展格局), and to enhance the country’s overall competitiveness. China attaches great importance to the development of computing power. It has specifically proposed laying out a nationwide computing power network of national hubs and nodes, and launched implementation of the “eastern data, western compute” project, in order to build a national computing power network system. Driven by both demand and policy, all parts of the country are vigorously promoting the development of the computing power technology industry, infrastructure construction, and computing power application. This white paper systematically studies the development of computing power in China, and establishes a computing power development index, taking into consideration the characteristics and key influencing factors of computing power development. It comprehensively and objectively evaluates the level of computing power development in each province of China, in order to promote the development of the computing power technology industry, infrastructure construction, and computing power application, to strengthen the coordination and joint action of regions in China on computing power, and to provide effective support for the formulation of computing power development policies for the whole country and each province.
Of course, this white paper still has many shortcomings, and criticism and corrections from the public are sincerely requested.
For the full translation, download the PDF below.