Tech Giants Offer Suggestions for the Two Sessions
China’s two sessions in 2021 were attended by delegates from all walks of life including technology companies. All actively contributed their ideas to the two sessions, and so did the technology giants.
Li Shufu: revising industry standards and solving regulatory barriers to electrification of trucks
At this year’s two sessions, Li Shufu, a deputy to NPC and chairman of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd., brought two motions on new energy vehicles.
First, he suggested revising industry standards to meet the needs for railway transport of electric vehicles. At the critical stage of market expansions, major automobile corporations should make the safety of electronic vehicles the most important indicator for the new energy vehicle industry and ensure the safety of electric vehicles by meeting various technology requirements and manufacturing standards. In this way, the safety of electronic vehicles during transportation is controllable. Based on this, Li suggested revising the current standards according to the characteristics of electric vehicles. The revised standards should meet the demand of new energy vehicles at the new development stage and allow electric vehicles and lithium battery bulk parts to be transported efficiently, safely and economically through railway in compliance with laws and regulations, so as to promote the domestic development of China’s new energy automobile industry and expand its global mainstream market. He also proposed that industry bodies and relevant government authorities should discuss and exchange views on the characteristics of new energy vehicles and the industry management requirements for railway transport, and develop corresponding product safety standards and transport management procedures. They should take account of the needs of the market and enterprises and open special trains for the transport of new energy vehicles in due course to meet the needs of Chinese car enterprises going abroad and the growing market for new energy vehicles in Europe.
Second, Li proposed solving regulatory barriers to electrification of trucks. According to China Automotive Technology & Research Centre, carbon emissions of China’s transportation industry reached about 1.2 billion tons in 2019. Commercial vehicles, accounting for only 12% of China’s car ownership, produced 56% of carbon emissions of road traffic. The electrification of trucks is imperative for the automotive industry to reach peak carbon emission and control pollution emitted. According to Li, there still were regulatory obstacles to the electrification of trucks, in terms of the maximum mass and length of vehicles. Therefore, Li suggested that for electric trucks, the maximum mass should be increased by 10 kg for each 1 kW.h electric quantity equipped to offset the impact of the increase in vehicle mass due to the equipment of the power storage battery. For the vehicle train (articulated train) using the power switching mode, the overall vehicle length limit should be supplemented to 18.5m, so as to meet the rapid promotion and application of the power switching mode in the new energy trucks.
Zhang Jindong: promoting the upgradation of retailing in rural areas and paying attention to circular economy
At this year’s two sessions, Zhang Jindong, a deputy to NPC and board chairman of Suning Holdings Group, focused on issues related to rural vitalization and circular economy.
First, he suggested promoting technology empowerment and fostering the upgradation of retailing in rural areas. At present, China has scored a complete victory in fighting against poverty, and rural vitalization is becoming the major focus of the society. In his survey, Zhang found that due to the traditional business model and lagging retail supply system, the rural consumer market had long been plagued with counterfeit and shoddy products with high price but low quality and uneven service. The lack of effective supply of high-quality goods and services in rural areas and the failure to meet the needs of rural residents in their pursuit of a better life have become the main problem restricting the development of the rural retail market. In this regard, Zhang suggested that quality upgrading and experience upgrading should be taken as the main direction of rural commercial consumption upgrading. Through the digital empowerment of rural micro and small retail enterprises, the upgradation of rural consumption quality should be led and driven, and the potential of rural consumption should be fully released. Taking rural e-commerce talent training as a systematic project, it lays a solid talent foundation for reconstructing rural physical retail with integrated development online and offline.
Second, he suggested developing circular economy and creating a closed loop of trading-in old home appliances for new ones. More than a decade after the last round of home appliances sales in the rural areas and the trade-in of old home appliances for new was launched, China’ s home appliance holdings have exceeded 2.1 billion units. On the one hand, a large number of traditional home appliances are entering the end-of-life or period out of service, bringing safety and health hazards. On the other hand, the home appliance industry is in urgent need of new growth drivers. Zhang proposed strengthening the popularization of safe service time of home appliances, and actively guide the exchange of old for new. He also suggested establishing a home appliance recycling mechanism with the industry upstream and downstream forming a high standard closed loop, and increasing subsidies for consumers to promote the integration of online and offline “old-for-new” model.
Lei Jun: further promoting the development of smart manufacturing
Lei Jun, a deputy to NPC, vice chairman of ACFIC, and founder and CEO of Xiaomi Corp, proposed further developing smart manufacturing.
China’s smart manufacturing is still at the transforming stage from “whether there is smart manufacturing” to “whether it is of high-quality”. The problems of large scale with weak development or big quantity with poor quality still exist. In this regard, Lei suggested that we should create a well-planned and predictable macro policy environment. We should promote industry-university-research cooperation to form innovation consortia and consolidate the basic research and development capabilities of intelligent manufacturing equipment and key components. We should continue to cultivate intelligent manufacturing service platforms, strive to achieve greater breakthroughs in industrial software and intelligent manufacturing systems. We should speed up to fill the gap of intelligent manufacturing talents by introducing and training talents.
Robin Li: strengthening the openness and sharing of data on the Internet
At this year’s two sessions, Robin Li, a member of CPPCC National Committee, and board chairman and CEO of Baidu, submitted his proposal on autopilot, smart traffic and sharing of data on the Internet platforms.
First, Li pointed out that we had been trying to lower carbon emissions of transportation and artificial intelligence could be helpful to achieve the peak of carbon missions. He said that transportation was one of the most important livelihood issues for the public and one of the important fields of carbon emissions. He suggested that policy innovation should be further strengthened at the national level to support the commercialization of autonomous driving and the popularization of intelligent transport, so as to meet the people's demand for better mobility and achieve the goal of carbon peaking in the transport sector as soon as possible. Specific suggestions include: further strengthening policy innovation at the national level to open up legalization paths for large-scale commercialization of autonomous driving; establishing a mechanism to promote large-scale commercialization of autonomous driving with the joint participation of governments, industries and academia; accelerating the process of intelligent transport infrastructure and widely applying technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and 5G; building a low-carbon, efficient and convenient transport system; encouraging enterprises to step up R&D and innovation of self-driving cars and key software and hardware components; and promoting the popularization of self-driving cars.
Second, he suggested strengthening openness and sharing of data on the Internet so as to provide convenient access to information for the public. In the era of mobile Internet, a large number of applications (apps) have emerged in various fields such as e-commerce, social networking, information, catering, taxi, education and healthcare. In order to compete for users, most apps build their own information content, which is only visible within the app. In the long run, the information and services of the mobile Internet are fragmented in different apps, and each app becomes a closed “information island”. In this regard, Robin Li suggested that the relevant departments should select areas closely related to the people’s access to information services as pilots to break down the existing “information barriers” model. We should strengthen the open data and security supervision of Internet platforms, and evaluate the open sharing of information and information quality of each platform.
Pony Ma: using digital technology to promote rural vitalization and shared development
At this year’s two sessions, Pony Ma, a deputy to NPC and chairman and CEO of Tencent, submitted his motions on rural vitalization, new employment and carbon neutralization.
First, he suggested promoting rural vitalization and shared development through digital technology. Ma said that we should speed up narrowing the digital gap between cities and rural areas, and promote high-quality development and rural vitalization so as to bring benefits of digital economy to farmers. To be more specific, he proposed that we should implement a new type of professional farmer cultivation project and give training of agricultural technology, e-commerce and other new agricultural skills to “new farmers” who have returned to their hometowns and the primary-level governance talents. Concerning digitalization of public services and emergency management in rural areas, we should systematically promote platforms with rural characteristics of government transparency, convenience services. We should explore the use of digital means to help solve the problems of left-behind children and empty-nest elderly people in rural areas.
Second, he proposed accelerating the development of new employment patterns and help stabilize employment. Ma has continued to focus on new employment patterns over the past few years. After putting forward relevant suggestions at the two sessions in 2019, Ma made an in-depth survey on the new forms of business and modes of flexible employment arising from digital economy after the pandemic, such as shared employment and free employment. In his proposal of accelerating the development of new employment patterns and helping to stabilize employment, he pointed out that platform-based and flexible new employment patterns are an important vehicle for stability in employment. The new employment forms are characterised by large employment capacity, low entry and exit threshold, good flexibility, etc. With these characteristics, there form “reservoirs” and “buffers” in the employment market and thus new forms of employment complement standardized employment in the labor market. At the same time, he said that, unlike traditional labor practices, the relevant supporting mechanisms and service systems needed to be further adjusted and improved in order to better protect and serve the new forms of employment. n addition, we need to pay attention to the physical and mental health and sustainable development of platform economy employees, and try to make sure that the current jobs they have are not only young people’s game. Specific suggestions include: broadening the channels for flexible employment people to participate in social security; providing free online courses and employment guidance services for people with employment difficulties; and building a “digital school” for employees to learn for life.
Third, he suggested promoting China’s science and technology enterprises to achieve carbon neutrality. Addressing climate change is an inherent requirement for China’s sustainable development, and it is also China’s responsibility to take the initiative to shoulder international responsibility and promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind. In this regard, Ma said that the significance of promoting China’s technology enterprises to achieve carbon neutrality not only laid in the energy saving and emission reduction of technology enterprises themselves;m more importantly, we should encourage technology enterprises to strengthen technological research and innovation, and take carbon neutrality as an opportunity to force China’s low-carbon technology transformation. On the one hand, we need to focus on tackling low-carbon technologies such as the energy internet and CCUS technology; on the other hand, we need to promote the development of the economic society in a low-carbon, green and circular direction by combining with the industrial Internet. Specific suggestions include: optimizing the layout of data centers, improving the procurement of green power and encouraging enterprises to invest in renewable energy projects and distributed energy projects; accelerating the research and development of green technologies, promoting the application of low-carbon technology innovations such as green data centers, establishing a number of high-tech and energy-efficient “carbon-neutral data centers”; issuing guidance on carbon neutrality for technology enterprises and encouraging them to set carbon neutrality commitments and targets.