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China sets goal to be blockchain world leader by 2025

China has a plan to become the world leader in the use of blockchain. Image: iStock.

Guidelines issued on Monday by China’s IT and Cyberspace Affairs offices outline long-term plans to build blockchain companies to drive different sectors of the national economy

(AF) China’s industry watchdog and cyberspace regulator jointly published guidelines on Monday to boost the country’s development and application of the blockchain technology. The document also announced a goal of making China a world leader in blockchain technology by 2025.

The guidelines, published by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Office of Central Cyberspace Affairs, serve as a high-level instruction to the country’s information technology offices in provincial and municipal governments. It puts forth long-term goals to build blockchain companies and applications that can empower different sectors of the country’s economy as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Digital China strategy.

“Blockchain is an important component of the new-generation information technologies. It is a new type of database software that integrates various technologies such as distributed networking, encryption, and intelligent contract. Through characteristics such as data transparency, tamper proofing, and traceability, it is expected to resolve trust and security issues in network spaces,” the document said.

President Xi identified blockchain as a key area of technological breakthrough for China in a Politburo seminar in October 2019, marking that the technology was of strategic importance to the nation. In April 2020, the National Development and Reform Commission incorporated blockchain into the scope of “new infrastructure” development for the first time.

China is home to 75,000 enterprises doing business related to blockchain, according to data from Chinese business data search platform Tianyancha.

Stocks with the blockchain theme rallied on Tuesday. Beijing-based blockchain platform developer Brilliance Technology soared 20%, while Jiangsu-based fintech software provider HopeRun Information Technology jumped by 10.8%. Shanghai-based cloud solution provider CES Group was up 8.2%.

The goal is to establish a world-leading blockchain industry by 2025, and to expand the scale of that industry with a near-complete ecosystem by 2035, according to the latest guidelines issued by the two government bodies.

Ambitious goals

By 2025, China aims to create a number of “famous products” of blockchain in areas such as product tracing, data sharing, and supply chain management, and establish three to five “famous companies” with international influence, as well as forming three to five “famous parks” for the blockchain industry.

The plan is that by 2030 blockchain will be deeply integrated with other information technologies such as the Internet, big data, and artificial intelligence in China. Their applications will be widely adopted in China and provide an essential means of support of the nation’s governance capacity at that time.

Critical tasks under the MIIT’s guidelines include applying blockchain technology to boost the real economy and improve public services, setting up technological standards, and enhancing the industry chain.

To execute the high-level guidelines, local governments are being instructed to provide both political and economic support. This includes building blockchain industrial parks, offering tax breaks for blockchain startups and creating specialized higher education programmes to foster talent in the blockchain technology field.

‘Yes blockchain, no crypto’

With the latest central government direction, China appears to be rehashing its ‘yes-blockchain-no-crypto’ narrative.

The guidelines come following a recent ban on crypto-related financial and payment services and a comment brought up in a cabinet meeting about cracking down on bitcoin mining and trading.

Over the past weekend, China’s regulators have blocked a whole raft of crypto-related influencer accounts on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Access to a significant number of widely followed crypto-related Weibo accounts was denied, with a message now showing saying each account “violates laws and rules”.

The names of most of the suspended accounts included terms such as bitcoin, btc, or coin. Some suspended accounts also had the term “blockchain” but actively posted information related to the crypto market sentiment.

 

SEE ALSO:

Bitcoin battered by China crackdown, Musk’s tweets and hackers’ warning

Iris Hong

Iris Hong is a senior reporter for the China desk, and has special interests in fintech, e-commerce, AI, and electric vehicles. She began her career in 2006 and worked for Interfax News Agency and for PayPal before joining Asia Financial in July 2020. You can reach out to Iris on Twitter at @Iris23360981

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