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China unveils 'Internet Plus' action plan to juice slow economy
[BEIJING] China unveiled a plan to use the Internet to rejuvenate traditional industries and boost flagging economic growth, the State Council said in a statement Saturday.
"Internet Plus," as the plan is called, will help the manufacturing sector optimize and better serve clients through technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence, according to the statement. Other areas that may benefit include agriculture, energy production and distribution, finance, medical care, logistics, e-commerce, transportation and environmental protection, it said.
China is attempting to manage an economy growing at its slowest pace since the 2009 global recession. The Internet plan comes as the government seeks to de-emphasise debt-fueled investment growth and give consumers and services more prominence in the economy.
China will upgrade and expand its existing infrastructure, from optic fiber networks to satellite communications, to improve and boost data streaming ability, especially for remote and rural areas, the statement said.
The State Council mapped out responsibilities and tasks for government agencies involved in the plan. The National Development and Reform Commission and several ministries will lower market-entry barriers and allow private investments in basic telecommunication services, it said.
The central bank will build up a nationwide credit system to track and share credit information across different platforms, according to the statement. The government will earmark funds for the "Internet Plus" plan and will encourage financing avenues to shepherd investments into this area, it said.