I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Mr Bai Yang from ZTE Corporation on how the Digital Economy is progressing in the Asia-Pacific Region. I think you will find his answers intriguing and enlightening.
Mr Bai Yang is a Vice President of ZTE Corporation in charge of Marketing and Solution Department of APAC, which covers Pan Asia Pacific region including South Asia, Southeast Asia, CIS, Australia, East Asia (excluding China Mainland).
Since joining ZTE Corporation in 2004, he has worked in the International Marketing Department, UK Sales Office, GU Product Line and Marketing & Solution Department. He has more than 15 years experience in marketing and solutions across Asia, Europe and Africa.
Mr Bai graduated from Newcastle University, United Kingdom with a telecommunication engineering master’s degree in 200
How do you see the Digital Economy progressing in the Asia-Pacific Region?
The Digital Economy has achieved rapid development with its continuous expansion in scale and increasing contributions. According to statistics from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), China’s digital economy accounted for more than 1/3 of the total GDP of China in 2019, and contributed to more 2/3 of 2019 GDP growth.
In the Asia-Pacific region, according to GSMA statistics, mobile technologies and services generated $1.6 trillion in economic value annually and supported around 18 million jobs, with $180 billion raised through general taxation. This year, the Covid-19 pandemic posed great challenges to economic growth and made the digital economy particularly important. It will become the core force of economic development.
What are the prospects moving forward – what do you see as the key areas that will be addressed first?
The development of the digital economy depends on improvements in the construction of information infrastructure, including the application of new generation technologies such as 5G, IoT, cloud computing, big data and artificial intelligence. Among them, communication networks with 5G as the core will be the critical link connecting other technologies and is the first step in combinin all infrastructures. 5G networks provide ubiquitous connection capabilities, ultra-fast and ultra-reliable transmission to solve digital transmission problems and meet the requirements of the Internet of Everything.
The essence of the digital economy is to use information technology to transform and upgrade traditional industries such as agriculture, industry, and service industries. With the application of various innovative technologies, consumers can enjoy a variety of unprecedented services and superb experiences, such as autonomous driving, holographic video, VR shopping, etc., which greatly facilitate and enrich human life. Enterprises can improve industrial efficiency with technologies such as big data analysis and industrial Internet. Increasing network connection requirements brought by the digital economy and new business models will surely provide operators, with greater market prospects.
ZTE has established in-depth cooperation with more than 500 partners and explored 86 applications in 15 industrial fields, creating value for consumers, operators, and industry partners. Taking the 5G + Live TV solution for example, ZTE and China Mobile jointly achieved the first application of an innovative 5G+ Live TV solution at the 2nd National Youth Games of China (2nd NYG).
In the same year, China Telecom jointly with ZTE on the 15th World Wushu Championship (WWC) in using 5G+ Live TV solution. ZTE’s 5G + Live TV solution is developed for big events and concerts. Combining 5G, MEC technology, and AI technology, it provides multi-angle HD live broadcast, VR immersive viewing and social functions to meet needs of on-site audiences’ personalized game watching and off-site audiences immersive video experience and create more business possibilities for operators, making it an important development direction for 5G video.
Another typical case is the 5G + Intelligent manufacturing solution. ZTE and China Telecom have jointly deployed this solution in ZTE’s Nanjing Binjiang 5G Intelligent Manufacturing Factory. Including a 5G enterprise private network and a mobile edge computing platform. 5G+MEC machine vision platform, 5G+AI quality inspection, autonomous driving and automatic loading/unloading functions are deployed to “make 5G with 5G”, which greatly improves production efficiency and reduces costs.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on the Digital Economy – if so, what has been that effect?
The Covid-19 pandemic has left many countries in a closed state, which has had a serious impact on their economies in the short term and slowed down the development of the digital economy. However, in the long run, the Covid-19 pandemic also provides an opportunity for the rapid development of the digital economy. The digital economy will be the inevitable choice to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 pandemic and drive economic growth.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also promoted the use of the Internet by more people to maintain connections, obtain education, or provide crisis information, and promoted the development of information technologies, products, and services. Based on China’s experience, information technologies have played an important role in facilitating the Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control, resumption of work and production, and solves the problems of telemedicine, work, learning and financial services.
In the case of telemedecine, ZTE has also been collaborating with operators to realize its potential in order to help patients get expert diagnosis and treatment the first time. It has accelerated the implementation of more new products and services in these industries, and accelerated the digital, network-based, and intelligent transformation of traditional industries.
By the end of September, China had opened 690,000 5G base stations and cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou had continuous coverage of 5G networks in urban areas, according to data released by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). And according to the Dell’oro Group’s global market share report for the second quarter of 2020, ZTE’s market share of 5G base station shipments in the second quarter increased to 30.5%.
How is ZTE positioning itself in this digital era – what are the key strategies?
ZTE is committed to becoming a road builder of the digital economy which can solve two major industry challenges, data transmission and data processing. ZTE attaches great attention to data transmission and data processing, and strives to promote data flow with 5G and AI. In addition, from the perspective of industry development, ZTE expands business empowerment platforms, empowers key industries and scenarios, and builds the digital ecosystem jointly. In the process of promoting business sustainability, ZTE strengthens independent R&D of core technologies, sticks to innovation, and ensure the security of the digital economy.
What types of innovative solutions for industry digitization from ZTE can we look forward to?
As a road builder of the digital economy, ZTE has been committed to empowering the digital and intelligent transformation of thousands of industries by building “ultimate networks”, “precision cloud networks” and “empowerment platforms”. ZTE’s ultimate networks solution provides end-to-end solutions and products including 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, fixed broadband access network, Common Core network and transport network, terminals and modules. It provides ubiquitous connectivity, high speed and reliable transmission, and promotes the interconnection of all things.
Based on SDN/NFV and end-to-end network slicing, ZTE provides a precision cloud networks solution. It dynamically allocates network and computing resources based on different service requirements through cloud-edge coordination, provides accurate services, and maximizes network resources and customer benefits. ZTE provides data center products with advanced features, such as energy saving, safe and reliable, intelligent O&M, and fast deployment, to achieve data storage and fast exchanges. At present, ZTE has more than 280 successful cases around the world, with 90,000 racks deployed and more than 1 million square metres of construction experience. These are based on five empowerment platforms including Cloud video, industrial IoT, security, positioning and robot platform that ZTE has established in-depth cooperation with vertical industry partners to create value through data.
Can you please update me on how cooperation with operators is progressing in areas such as 5G.
By the end of September 2020, ZTE had signed 55 5G commercial contracts and cooperated with more than 90 operators around the world in 5G. In Europe, we are helping Orange, Wind Tre and Hutchison Three to launch commercial 5G networks. In Asia, we have signed 5G commercial contracts with more than 10 operators in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Myanmar and other countries, and will launch commercial 5G from 2020 to 2021.