Connecting China’s broadband ambitions to development

Oughton, E.

Premier Li Keqiang recently stressed at the World Economic Forum that structural economic reform is pivotal if China is to achieve a sustainable economic growth trajectory.

China evidently needs to balance its economy to avoid overreliance on its manufacturing base. The government’s latest plan to invest $US323 billion in expanding fixed-line and wireless broadband connectivity will bring it one step closer to this goal by helping to spur the development of its service sector.

In the last quarter of 2012, Chinese broadband subscribers numbered around 175 million, totalling only 13 per cent of the population. The expansion aims to provide high-speed connectivity to almost all of its 1.3 billion citizens by 2020, easily making China the largest broadband market in the world, over the five leading broadband markets that currently reside in the US, Japan, Germany, France and the UK. It would also enable the creation of new goods and services, including the increased sale of products which utilise high-speed connectivity.

Connecting China’s broadband ambitions to development. East Asia Forum. Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific, 3 October 2013.