President Xi Jinping has reiterated China’s move to become a technological powerhouse and has called for global collaboration in the big data sector.

In a letter sent to the fourth annual International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, the capital of Southwest China’s Guizhou province, Xi outlined Beijing’s ambitious big data plans as part of the “Made in China 2025” program.

He urged the continued, rapid development of big data throughout the world’s second-largest economy when he said in the letter:

“At present, the new-generation information technologies represented by the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence are changing and updating constantly, exerting profound influence on the socioeconomic development, national and social governance, and people’s lives in all countries.

“We need to seize the golden opportunities for big data development, promote the healthy development of the big data industry, and address challenges in areas including data security and cyberspace governance.

“This requires countries around the world to strengthen exchanges, share knowledge and deepen communications and cooperations.”

His comments came as the curtain went up on the expo and illustrated Guiyang’s rising position as an emerging hub of big data in Asia.

Co-sponsored by National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Cyberspace Administration, the number of participants and exhibitors at the expo reached an all-time high — 388 companies and nearly 50,000 participants from 28 countries. That’s three times the attendance of last year’s conference.

Running from May 26-29, the four-day event has attracted a ‘who’s who’ of elite industry leaders from around the world, including 30 top academicians and execs from Global 500 companies, as well as 400 exhibitors and media organizations — all brought together under the umbrella theme of Data for Everything, Intelligence for Integration.

The national-level exposition has developed into being a benchmark for the development of big data around the world, as well as the most globalized and authoritative platform in the industry.

Its heightened profile has made it a must-go for the likes of some of the most prominent tech business leaders, such as Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Tencent’s Pony Ma and Baidu’s Robin Li. Also in attendance were senior executives from industry giants such as Microsoft, Intel, Dell, Oracle, SAP, SAS and Tesla.

For example, the Artificial Intelligence conference first presented by Yang Lan last year, received an overwhelming welcome this year with more than 2,000 people packed in the venue, leaving no room to even stand, and another 1,000 waiting outside, watching the live video broadcast.

Among highlights at this year’s Expo: the final of the 2018 AI Global Competition will be held; 51 cutting-edge technology achievements including AI assistant, together with 100 big data-use cases are going to be announced; 5G technology and its application will be demonstrated; and more than 1,000 of the latest products, technologies and solutions will be exhibited.

FAST, a giant silver dish the size of 30 football fields in Guizhou province, is described as humanity's best bet for finding aliens. Photo: AFP
FAST, a giant silver dish the size of 30 football fields in Guizhou province, is described as humanity’s best bet for finding aliens. Photo: AFP

The supercomputing power of Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) —nicknamed China’s Tianyan or “Eye of Heaven” —will also be demonstrated for the first time.

Last fall, it was reported that Chinese scientists announced the discovery of two new pulsars 4,000 light years away, marking the first confirmed finds from the world’s largest radio telescope.

Eight high-level dialogues and 56 forums have been planned, with a series of parallel sessions and activities organized by the consulates general of the US, UK and Italy. Executives from Facebook, AMD, IBM, Tencent, Alibaba, and STMicroelectronics will address the Expo.

High-tech demonstrations include everything from robots that can dance and make speciality coffees, to intelligent drones, to unique virtual reality experiences, to intelligent traffic platforms.

Still, Guizhou has become a magnet for big data startups with a total industrial scale of more than 110 billion yuan (US$17.34 billion).

In addition, to develop high-tech talent, the local government built Huaxi University Town,  which consists of nine local universities and 11o big data firms.

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