China vows to support digitalisation of 4,000-6,000 small firms by 2025

FILE PHOTO: A man uses a vending machine promoting China's digital yuan, or e-CNY, at the China Construction Bank booth, during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, July 8, 2021. REUTERS/Yilei Sun

BEIJING (Reuters) – China will support around 300 service platforms to help with the digital transformation of 4,000-6,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises till 2025, the country’s industry and information technology ministry and finance ministry said on Wednesday.

“From 2022 to 2025, the central government plans to support local governments to carry out digital transformation pilots for small and medium-sized enterprises,” the ministries said in a joint statement.

In 2022 alone, the central government plans to support about 100 service platforms with incentives to speed up the digitalisation of firms. Each platform should help with least 10 firms to complete their digital transformation and the maximum reward for each platform shall not exceed 6 million yuan ($885,373.63), according to the statement.

The programme will target firms in key industries such as manufacture of automobile parts, electronic equipment and pharmaceutical and chemical products, the statement said.

Small firms are the mainstay of China’s economy and a major source of jobs, but many of them were hit hard by stringent COVID-related curbs this year.

The Cyberspace Administration of China in late 2021 said the country will achieve “decisive progress” in digitalisation by 2025, a transformation that the country sees as a route to a stronger and more efficient economy.

The digital economy accounts for 39.8% of China’s gross domestic product in 2021 and reached 45.5 trillion yuan, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications.

($1 = 6.7768 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Ellen Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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