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Shantou eyes key role in data exchange with more efforts in new infrastructure

Updated: Aug 18, 2023 By QIU QUANLIN in Shantou, Guangdong China Daily Print
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The construction of a series of submarine communication cables and computing infrastructure in Shantou, a coastal city in Guangdong province, will help provide low-cost and efficient linkage support for two-way data transmission for domestic and foreign companies, according to a senior local Party official.

"We will accelerate the construction of new infrastructure for the digital economy, promoting the operations of computing power facilities and new networking services," said Wen Zhanbin, Party secretary of Shantou.

Wen made the remarks during an innovation and development conference on China's digital economy in Shantou on Wednesday.

The conference held forums covering key topics such as new digital economy infrastructure and green computing networks.

Wen said construction of an Asian direct high-speed submarine cable and a second Southeast Asia-Japan submarine cable will be completed in Shantou by the end of 2023 and next year, respectively.

Following completion of the two submarine cables, the outbound bandwidth from Shantou will account for nearly half of the country's total.

An international and domestic data exchange network, with Shantou as an important hub, has been formed. A fiber optic transmission network that can directly connect to 297 major cities across China will soon be built internally, Wen said.

"Shantou's sea area is very suitable for laying new international submarine cables, with the advantage of global direct coverage being further highlighted in the future."

Shantou, one of the three major submarine cable landing stations on the Chinese mainland, currently has four international submarine cables directly connected to more than 30 countries and regions in the Asia-Pacific, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.

In terms of local computing power, China Mobile, a leading telecom operator, has accelerated the construction of a data center in eastern Guangdong province that can accommodate over 20,000 equipment cabinets. Additionally, China Unicom has laid out plans to build an intelligent cloud data center in Shantou.

"The computing power facilities will help provide important support for overseas enterprises to carry out international communication business, especially the integration of intelligent computing and storage for localization of international data," he said, adding that a sufficient supply of green electricity will also help provide zero-carbon energy support for the computing business of cross-border enterprises and construction of a large-scale data center.

Also as a major wind farm in China, Shantou sees its installed capacity of offshore wind power included in the national plan rising to 35.35 million kilowatts by 2030, Wen said.

Since the first China Digital Economy Innovation Development Conference in 2022, the number of new businesses engaged in the digital economy in Shantou has doubled, with leading enterprises such as Tencent, Alibaba and Huawei successively establishing their presence in the city.

A number of cooperative agreements in the digital economy were also signed on Wednesday in Shantou, with an investment of over 15 billion yuan ($2 billion).

A communication technology and innovation laboratory was also established during the conference. The laboratory, jointly launched by the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology, a scientific research institute under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and Shantou Overseas Chinese Pilot Zone, will focus on research in areas of the internet of things and 5G, international information and communication service capabilities, international communication data supervision, data transmission equipment testing and green computing centers.

According to a research report released during the conference, the scale of China's digital economy increased by $4.1 trillion from 2016 to 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 14.2 percent. The scale of China's digital economy grew to 50.2 trillion yuan in 2022.

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