IGF 2017 - Day 1 - Room XXIII - OF15 China's Internet Policy to Shape the Digital Future


The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, from 17 to 21 December 2017. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 



>> MALCOLM LEE: Private partnership.  Is a membership organization whose members are governance, companies, and academia.  In its history of 52 years, IT has developed standards of technology and services, managed and assist developing countries for infrastructure and policy deployment on ICT.  It is estimated that 95 percent of international traffic of internet runs over fiber optic cables built in performance with IT standards.  ITU has made great progress in helping developed countries and least developed counts to improve infrastructure, market deployment, and human capacity building.  ITU is establishing roads and standardization for global mobile communication, and promoting global deployment of new technologies, such as big data, cloud computing, Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence.  China has made incredible advances in ICT and digital economy.  China is number one in both model subscriber and internet users, and number 2 in terms of the growth scale of the digital economy.

More and more people are interested to know how China has achieved this.  China's vision of developing a digital economy for ultimate and shared benefits, building a community in cyberspace together with its four principles and five proposals has been inspiring and is gaining more and more attention from all over the world.

ITU commences this Open Forum with participation of the China cyberspace authorities, researchers, and think tanks to introduce China's achievement in digital economy and experience internet policies, law, and regulation development.  Sharing practices and enhancing dialogue and discussion will have to promote global collaboration to spread digital dividends more widely and better benefit people from all over the world.  ITU is committed to connecting all the world's people, whenever they live, and whatever their names.

ITU wishes to work with all stakeholders of the world to build a global information society, to bring better ICTs for all for better future to all.  ITU looks forward for China to play an ever greater role in this great cause.  Thank you.

>> BIN BIN WEI: Thank you for your brief introduction on the role of ITU in shaping the digital future and your perspective as to how you look at China's digital economy economic development.  Now, last but not least, I give the floor to Mr. Luigi Gombardella.  His intervention is entitled, Chinese Industry Will Shape the Internet of Tomorrow.  Luigi, please.

>> LUIGI GOMBARDELLA: Thank you.  Thank you very much, and thank you very much for your kind invitation, and let me congratulate again for the success of IGF, which I believe is already one of the most important internet conferences all over the world, and I think will be interesting also for you next year to maybe attend.

But let me say two things.  First of all, I remember when I was for the first time speaking about the role of China in the digital sector in 2014 in internet, and I was saying, China would become the dealer, China would go in fast.  At that time, only three years ago, the situation was completely different.  The reality is that China is the leader, is becoming the leader, and China is the future.  Now let me, first of all, it's important that we understand the context.  China is a country which is growing.

Just to give you one figure, in the last five years, China has created 15 million new jobs.  Today, every day in China, there are 16,500,000 new staff every single day, and the objective of the Chinese government is to have by 2020, 10,000 incubator (?) creating 20 million new jobs.  I could continue and mention many other new members, but I think that frankly speaking, we have to recognize, first of all, the role that China has today, and nobody can deny it.  And second, the fact that the Chinese government is facilitating the development of digital economy, and, as promoted, innovation.  Today, China is a country of innovators.

Now, let me now distinguish two different things.  One, which is crucial for the internet solution, is infrastructure, and then services.  You know that China is already, it's been said by ITU, is a leader in 4G in the world.  And I think China is going to be one of the first countries in the world to introduce 5G.  Why this is important?  Because 5G is the internet of the future.  5G is a new way to communicate.  And basically, what we change is the two main revolutions ‑‑ not only that we're able to add better connection with our mobile phones.  We could load movie in a few seconds.  But, the real innovation would be the possibility to collect data from objects, from machines, and this will mean, obviously big data, will mean the possibility to use a better artificial intelligence cloud services and also load other services.

So, we will see a new era of internet.  And I think, I believe, the leadership of the Chinese government.  China has understood and is invested in this future.  So, obviously, at the same time, there are aspects that are important at the level of the service, if we relate to government.  For example, obviously, the development of the government, Smart Cities, Wi‑Fi hot spot.  Wi‑Fi, if you go to China, you'll see Wi‑Fi everywhere.  You can connect very easily.  But, at the same time, it's clear that this trend of China is the prospector.  The Chinese companies are very competitive in the digital sector, and are willing to innovate and to grow, and to promote new services.  Other than said, I will not repeat, there are companies today, we know that the stock values trend today higher than Facebook.  We know the staffs of Alibaba, but I can tell you, there are many, many other companies which may be even people they don't know they exist, that they, as the big market capitalization, and they can make also profit.

So, but I would like to ‑‑ I would like, it's quite interesting, because China's company, compared to, for example, Google, Facebook, which mainly in advertising, they're a slightly different business model.  And they try to monetize to services and subscription.  And what will happen in China, and what this company are doing in China sooner or later will be done also abroad.  In the last ‑‑ the past two years, according to CBI, the Baidu, Alibaba, and JV have invested five and 6 billion in 48 bids in U.S., only in U.S., buying company in U.S.  So, I think that the leadership of the Chinese internet, is thanks to a policy of the government which has promoted innovation.

But, at the same time, it's also the capacity of the Chinese internet companies to compete, to innovate, to stay on the market, and I think what we could be seeing in the future, in the near future, is the expansion, international expansion.  Today, basically, Baidu, Alibaba, and net customer are in China.  But, I think that the time is coming and we already have company very successful, for example, in the telecommute area.  My feeling is they will start and dedicate to the international expansion.  And then, once this will happen, this company, the Chinese company, will have an influence on the internet governance, and will be more important, even, of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, the influence today.

So, driver success on the internet is a key factor in the influence of internet governance, and I think that the Chinese giant, tech giants, are in that position to do so.  Thank you very much.

>> BIN BIN WEI: Thank you, Luigi.  Thank you for your intervention from the perspective of a long‑time observer of China's economic developments.  And, from someone devoted to China media corporations in the field of digital economy.  Thank you very much.  Now, we have some time for Q&A.  Things we have to finish before 9:00 o'clock, so, time is limited.  I will open the floor, and please identify yourself before you ask a question, and make it clear whom you address the question to.  And one question at a time.  Thank you.  The floor is yours.  The floor is open.  No?  Okay.

No questions?  It seems that everything is clear.  (laughter).  Okay. Oh, Okay.

>> My name is Taishan from the delegation.  My question goes to Luigi.  He said, 5G is the future internet.  But, from my perspective, 5G is on layer 2, and the internet is standardized in layer 3.  So, from my perspective, 5G is only one of the transport layers, and if you think about the bandwidth you would like to reach with 5G, you go into the 20 gigahertz event, and then you have a circle of only 500, up to 1 kilometer.  So, the main issue with 5G is not the wireless part, but you have to connect all the base stations.

So, from my perspective, 5G is not one of the key factors of the modern internet because you need to have fiber to connect all the needed space stations.  What do you think about it?

>> LUIGI GOMBARDELLA: Well, I think that 5G is the future of the internet, and ‑‑ for example, I will make an example to be clear.  Today, the internet company, they collect data only on individuals.  Pretty much, they collect data on you, on your behavior, and according to the behavior they pull, they make some commercials, proposals.  So, the internet of today.  Tomorrow, the internet will be everywhere, which means, the data will be collected from objects, from machines, from your car, and so.  Big data.  Artificial intelligence.  Cloud services.  Wi‑Fi is important.  I went, I was really astonished to ‑‑ well, to do one of the first trials of 5G in China with China mobile. 

You know, today, it's possible.  I can design something here and what I do goes on the cloud, and then it's producing China in the factory.  So, I think that should change your concept of internet.  Internet will evolve.  Internet will be everywhere.  It will be completely different than what you're doing today.  And you know, you can do only thanks to 5G technology because basically 5G technology will allow to collect a massive, huge data, and second, thanks to 5G, we can introduce low latency services, which we ‑‑ which will allow to have new services like augmented realities, digital realities.

So, there are many in the field of medicine, so, I think your concept of internet, I think, that's my view, should evolve in the future.  And this will obviously, will create new challenges with discussion.  What will happen with artificial intelligence, with robotics.  Because, robots will be linked to internet.  Your washing machine will be linked to internet.  So, we have entered a new reality, and thanks to 5G, we will be able to introduce the services today we have seen.

>> Okay. Thank you.

>> TOM MILES: Hello, my name is Tom Miles.  I'm a journalist from Reuters University.  I'm not an expert on China's internet policy at all, but it's a good time to ask the question.  I guess, from Mr. Lee, how do you ensure that human rights are reflected when you're designing policies on internet censorship and other top down strategies.  China obviously has a very top down system, but how are you going to ensure those important rights, which really for most people are the life blood of the internet, those are ensured and protected?  Thank you very much.

>> MALCOLM LEE: Yeah, we think it's two important sections are the.  So, we mix polls and laws.  Here, we mix policies and laws.  We think how to develop the industry or the internet, and at the same time, we can mix the rights and duties of the users between the treaties and the users to equal the rights and duties between those.

>> I think Professor Sphere is going to add something.

>> About your question, I will give some of my opinions.  I think the government, I think everybody will use internet.  Maybe, this is the, one of the important ends, to give the rightful access, give the people the rightful access to the internet.  The server space is not our space.  To realize everyone's rights, and to protect everyone's rights.  So, the government needs to ‑‑ the governing needs to reach the fake informations, and to reach the informations and to deal with cybercrime.  So, if that's measures to protect the rights of the users.

>> And to add something.  I gave you two figures.  Now, we have a population of internet users in China which is 751 million, just to mention, the total number.  This is one figure.  And the other is, we have websites.  You get the number of our websites in China.  We have 5 million websites.  That means that the Chinese people's rights of speech and their rights of expression are fully ensured.  But, at the same time, we are of the idea that internet, cyberspace, is not a space that's ungoverned.  We need to administer all, supervise all, manage the internet according to law.  That is why we have passed so many legislations, so many regulations that have been mentioned by the previous speakers.  Thank you.

>> Hi, Jason Tiomar from the Global Network Initiative.  So, I commend the various speakers here for coming and articulating, I think a more proactive engagement on the part of the Chinese government and Chinese companies on internet policy issues.  But, to the point made by the previous speaker, I think while the development of the internet in China may have taken place in a particular way, internet governance globally has always been a space where Civil Society, free and open Civil Society has a critical role to play.  Notwithstanding the 5 million websites you have in China, there is limited space for free and independent Civil Society.  Very little if any participate in conferences like, so, as China wants to become more involved, it will have to become more engaged with Civil Society.  How will that happen?

How open will China be to engaging in Civil Society in internet governance?

>> Thank you for your question.  Two weeks ago, we held the fourth world internet conference in Wuzhen.  It's a very beautiful town.  I hope every one of you will have a chance to go there.  It is an annual event, so, it is open.  In a sense, it's not open, because there's a limited accommodation.  Wuzhen is a small space, so we have sitting of 1,500 participants.  But, this year, there are more people who applied to come, but the accommodation is limited.  And Wuzhen, now, the local government, they are making efforts to enlarge their accommodation, so maybe next year, or the year after, we'll have, we can invite more participants to come.  But, actually, you have just mentioned that it's not open.  It's not ‑‑ there are not so many civil societies to participate in Wuzhen summit.  It's not true.

Actually, this summit, this event is multiparty style.  There are only very few participants from governments.  Governments, representatives, are a very small part.  Most of them are representatives from big business, from internet companies, from think tanks, from technical communities, from NGOs, et cetera.  I wish you had a chance to see, to feel yourself.  And I just mentioned that we have those leading figures in the international internet felt, who came, who brainstormed, who had a very deep discussion about the development of internet around, this year the theme, which is developing digital economy for openness and shared benefits.

The message is very clear.  It's open.  It's open.  Just like President Xi said, pointed out in his report in the 19th party Congress.  He said, China's door will never close.  They will be open wider and wider.  So, that's my message.  Thank you.  You are welcome to next year's Wuzhen summit.

>> From India.  I appreciate that China is opening their sector ‑‑

>> Your question is to whom?

>> I'm putting a general question.  Anybody can answer.  It's a very nice idea to open China's internet for the outside world.  I feel like the Chinese company lives in a different part of the world and we need competition for their services, Alibaba and what other companies out there.  Why are the Chinese not opening their country for the outer world.  If I give the example of Google or the UK, the moment you are reaching over there in China, you are not able to access any of these websites.  It should be competition.  Like, you are getting the appreciation.  At the same time, you also get the criticism from the outside world.  So, why you are not opening that sector?  Allowing internet companies from outside China to also be participating and competing with a Chinese company in China.

>> Thank you for asking that question.  I think that's a very good question, actually.  That's a question, maybe, in many people's mind.  Why Google, why Facebook are not yet working and operating in China.  So, what I should say is that, have you ever been to China?  How many times?  Many of times?  But I think you meet some point that you don't know how many foreign companies that they are operating very well, they make good money in China, many, many.  Thousands of them.  Google, Facebook, it's not there.  It's not ‑‑ why they are not there?  There's good reason.  For example, Google.  Google left China by default.  They left China.  There's a, you know, China welcomes foreign companies to operate in China, to cooperate with the Chinese companies, to cooperate with Chinese government, to make big money there, and we have many successful examples, success stories.

But, Google, that's by themselves.  And if they want to come back, we welcome.  The conditions that they have to abide by the law, the Chinese law and regulations.  That is the baseline, the bottom line.  And also, they will not do any harm to the Chinese national security and national consumers' interest.  So, this is our bottom line.  But, about that, they're welcome to operate in China.

>> You are also expecting that the Chinese countries you are working outside of China and other countries should abide by the rules and regulations of their perspective country.

>> Yeah, that is something we always encourage the Chinese companies to do when they're operating in a foreign land.  Thank you.

>> And last comment, because I think ‑‑ sorry ‑‑ everybody, each company operates in a country has to respect the law.  Each operating has to follow the general law.  Apple, 5 million people in China working for Apple.  Cisco is present.  IBM is present.  Microsoft is present.  So, there are many.  Google is not in China, but Google Play is in China.  And Google is opening the main research center in China.  So, there are many, many companies that are operating in China and also, for example, to operate in U.S. is not easy for Chinese company.  Tell me how many Chinese successful companies there are in U.S.  Give me names.  Give me three names.  You will not be able to find them.

(Captioning ending at end of scheduled hour)

(Session was concluded at 3:04 AM CT)