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Xinjiang looks to expand digital economy

Updated: Jun 4, 2020 By Aybek Askhar and Mao Weihua chinadaily.com.cn Print
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Residents make rose jam in a village in Hotan, Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, in June 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will expand its digital economy by 10 percent this year and create more sources of digital economic growth, according to the region's Department of Industry and Information Technology.

Bian Mingyao, deputy head of the department, said that during the outbreak of COVID-19, the digital economy emerged with great vitality and had become an important powerhouse in promoting economic stability and recovery across the region.

"There were many local e-commerce enterprises that started up in Xinjiang last year, with transaction volume exceeding 20 billion yuan ($3 billion)," Bian said.

The number of e-commerce service enterprises in Xinjiang grew beyond 1,000 in 2019, and their services have been continually enhanced in the fields of online sales of featured products, online payments, logistics, storage, agency operation, network promotion, quality certification and network security.

In May, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced that its training center planned to add 10 new jobs classified under emerging industries — including livestreaming, block chain, online learning and 3D printing — to the current list of formal occupations.

Yang Wen, a 30-year-old teacher from the Xinjiang Potential Education Development Institute, interacted with her students online by way of a dialog box that looked like a small blackboard with exercises and knowledge points inside.

"Even though we cannot meet each other, I can check their attendance, tutor their homework and monitor their examinations online," Yang said.

"Now I have nearly 1,000 students. Without the information technology to break the time and space barrier, a teacher like me would not be able to take so many at the same time."

E-commerce livestreaming has kicked into high gear as the novel coronavirus epidemic has forced many people to shift their shopping to online marketplaces. Quan Quan, a 15-year-old network anchor in Urumqi, is one of those.

"I am an internet salesman, and I believe that with constant innovation of the economic model, more young people will have the opportunity to realize their value in this emerging field," Quan said.

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