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China Daily: Digital tech helps rural economies thrive

2023/12/4 15:52:11

China is building out the digital infrastructure of its countryside. Yunnan province offers a case study of how to get the best results. 

BEIJING, Dec. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Technology plays a vital role in fueling economic growth. Research from the International Telecommunication Union suggests that a 10 percent increase in mobile broadband penetration has led to an average increase of 1.5 percent in real GDP per capita.

A visitor to Heshun
A visitor to Heshun

Providing the right digital infrastructure can be helpful to rural economies, such as those in Southwest China's Yunnan province, where local operators have rolled out universal telecommunications services, expanding 5G and fiber connectivity to remote areas.

As a digital infrastructure provider, Huawei has contributed to Yunnan's digital development.

"Huawei and local operators explored innovative ways to both improve rural coverage and reduce its costs," said Lei Lei, director of Huawei's Yunnan carrier business department.

Smart tourism in Heshun

The ancient Ming-era town of Heshun, for example, is fully covered by a 5G network.  

It means that a visitor's car can be assigned to an optimal parking place. Meanwhile, first-time visitors don't have to worry about getting lost. Using a WeChat mini program, they can find their way around, buy tickets, locate restaurants, catch buses and book hotels, among other things.

The urban administration can receive alarms from 50 points throughout the town to respond to any emergency.

The physical infrastructure also has built-in intelligence. Automatic photo printers allow shutterbugs to scan a QR code and print their snapshots on-site. Elsewhere, benches equipped with solar panels and electric outlets can be used to charge smartphones and smart water fountains monitor the quality and flow of water.

If you're visiting in July, virtual reality and 3D digital animation technology can show you what Heshun looks like blanketed in snow.

Heshun's digital infrastructure also allows it to protect the natural environment and its historically significant sites with security cameras and a fire monitoring system.

"From January to September, Tengchong received 13.37 million tourists and achieved 17.1 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) in tourism revenue, up 22 percent and 38 percent respectively year-on-year," said Chang Zaifei, deputy director of the Tengchong culture and tourism bureau.

"Taking Heshun as an example, more than 4,000 local residents have increased their income as a result of the new economic opportunities opened up by tourism, which in turn have been created by the build-out of digital infrastructure." 


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