Wang Zhijun, vice minister of industry and information technology
Lu Shan, director of the Planning Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)
Wen Ku, director of the Telecom Development Department and spokesperson of the MIIT
Shou Xiaoli, spokesperson for the State Council Information Office
Oct. 23, 2020
Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to the press conference of the State Council Information Office (SCIO). During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020), remarkable achievements have been made in the reform and development of China's industry and information technology sectors. In order to help people better understand related issues, we are very pleased to be joined by Mr. Wang Zhijun, vice minister of industry and information technology, who will brief you on the development of industry and telecommunication during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020) and take your questions.
Also taking part in the press conference today are Mr. Lu Shan, director of the Planning Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), and Mr. Wen Ku, director of the Telecom Development Department and spokesperson of the MIIT.
First of all, I would like to invite Mr. Wang to make his opening statement.
Friends from the media, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to today's press conference. I would like to thank you for your long-term interest and support in the development of China's industry and information technology sectors. With regards to the progress in building China into a manufacturing and cyber power during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing has written a signed article published on the People's Daily. We have provided you all with a printed copy for your reference. Now, I will briefly introduce the development of industry and information technology during the period.
General Secretary Xi Jinping has stressed that we should "work faster to build China into a manufacturer of quality, develop advanced manufacturing, and promote further integration of the internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real economy." The 13th Five-Year Plan period is the first crucial stage in building China into a manufacturing and cyber power. Under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, industry and information technology agencies at all levels have implemented the decisions and plans made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and continued to follow the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. We have steadfastly advanced supply-side structural reform and made concrete efforts to build China into a manufacturer of quality and a cyber power.
All the main tasks and targets laid out in the 13th Five-Year Plan are to be fulfilled as scheduled, with overall strength in industry and information technology being raised to new heights. Society has attached greater importance to the real economy as well as the development of industry and information technology. The integration of industrial processes and information technology has reached a much higher level, and solid progress has been made in building China into a manufacturer of quality and a cyber power.
From 2016 to 2019, China's industrial added value increased from 24.54 trillion yuan to 31.71 trillion yuan. This represents an average annual growth of 5.9%, which is much higher than the global average of 2.9% during the same period. In 2019, China's value-added in manufacturing reached 26.9 trillion yuan, accounting for 28.1% of the global total, with the country remaining the world's largest manufacturer for 10 consecutive years. The R&D spending of industrial enterprises above designated size reached 1.43% of the income from their main business operations, exceeding the target of 1.26% ahead of schedule.
The supply system has continuously improved, and the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries has accelerated. From 2016 to 2019, the investment in upgrading technologies has risen from 40.6% to 47.1% as a proportion of total industrial investment. Significant achievements have been made in cutting overcapacity. The target for reducing steel production capacity by 150 million tons set out in the 13th Five-Year Plan has been completed two years ahead of schedule. Energy consumption per unit of industrial added value created by enterprises above designated size has continued to decline. Strategic emerging industries have developed at a faster pace. The value-added by high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing respectively accounted for 14.4% and 32.5% of total value-added created by industrial enterprises above designated size. The two industries have become main forces driving the development of manufacturing.
Since the beginning of the 13th Five-Year Plan period in 2016, major breakthroughs have been achieved in a group of key technologies and products. China's Chang'e-4 lunar probe landed on the far side of the moon; launch missions for the Long March-5 carrier rocket series were successfully conducted; the Tianwen-1 Mars probe blasted off; construction of the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) was completed; China's first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker, Xuelong 2, joined Xuelong on the country's 36th Antarctic expedition; the Fuxing series of bullet trains which travel at 350 kph began large-scale operation; and breakthroughs were made in new materials, such as materials for large passenger plane C919, and glass substrates for flat panel displays.
The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have increasingly played a leading role in promoting the innovation-driven development of manufacturing. Foreign investors' access to China's general manufacturing sector has gradually increased, and important progress has been made in improving opening-up and cooperation. The influence of these sectors on global industrial and value chains has noticeably grown.
The information and communications sector has maintained steady and rapid growth and is playing a major pioneering role in driving economic growth. As internet infrastructure continues to upgrade, our internet penetration goals have been fulfilled ahead of time. By the end of 2019, the household penetration rate of fixed broadband and the user penetration rate of mobile broadband had reached 91% and 96%, respectively. Over 80 million households had access to a 1,000-megabyte fiber internet connection, and over 1.2 billion people were subscribed to a 4G network. The commercial use of 5G is making solid headway. China now has 690,000 5G base stations nationwide, benefiting over 160 million users. The number of server racks in China's data centers has reached 2.2 million, with the average annual growth surpassing 30%. People are enjoying an increased sense of fulfillment. The country has up to 90,000 value-added telecom companies, tripling the number in 2015. The average rates for mobile internet services have been cut by 95% compared to rates in late 2015. China has also launched a campaign to clean up mobile apps that infringe on the legal rights of mobile users. We have well achieved the goal of telecom universal services. Fiber internet connections and 4G networks are both available to 98% of China's administrative villages, driving nationwide efforts for poverty alleviation and rural vitalization.
A sound industrial ecosystem is taking shape in which enterprises of all sizes are pursuing development through collaboration. China is now home to more leading and globally competitive enterprises. The country now features 133 companies on the Fortune Global 500, the most from any one country in the world, and 23 more than in 2016. A total of 14 companies made it onto the 2019 Forbes Digital 100 List, with China Mobile and Alibaba among the top 10. China has also implemented various preferential policies to help companies navigate difficulties, taken measures to improve the policy system for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and made step-by-step efforts to upgrade government services in order to stabilize entities and drive employment. In information and telecoms, rail transportation, and the new energy vehicles sector, China has also witnessed several SMEs grow into market leaders with strong innovation capacities and international competitiveness. SMEs have seen a significant improvement in their specialization, vitality and competitiveness.
We have also seen a deeper integration of industrialization and informatization. Smart manufacturing technologies are being applied in the construction of digital workshops and smart factories. Industrial internet has made major progress as its networks, platforms, and safety systems continue to develop, with integrated applications now covering over 30 major sectors in the national economy. New business forms and models like smart manufacturing, internet collaborations, customization, servitization, and digital management are gaining momentum. Moreover, the digital economy is booming and transactions in both e-commerce and mobile payment rank first in the world. As big data, cloud computing, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence technologies are increasingly applied to socioeconomic development, we have seen a surge of numerous new business forms and models.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and the complicated domestic and international environment, we have resolutely implemented the decisions and arrangements made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). We made all-out efforts to guarantee medical supplies, and took the lead in ensuring supplies for epidemic prevention and control and promoting the resumption of work and production, which provided strong support for keeping economic fundamentals stable. Made-in-China products have not only contributed to the domestic and global battle against COVID-19 but also to economic recovery. The value added of industrial enterprises above designated size grew 1.2% year over year in the first three quarters of the year, with the growth rate hitting 5.8% in the third quarter and 6.9% in September. China's industrial sector is on a path of sustained and stable recovery, featuring an accelerating industrial output, the better dovetailing of production and marketing, and the significantly increasing confidence of market entities.
Currently, China is undergoing a crucial and challenging stage in the development of its industry and communications sector. In the face of a complicated domestic and international environment, we will, under the firm leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, apply the new development philosophy, study and explore ways for the development in industry and communications, put our comparative advantages to the best use, defuse risks and meet challenges head-on, seize strategic opportunities, hold the initiative in development, and remain firm in our commitment to pursuing development in manufacturing and cyberspace. In order to promote high-quality development, we will continue to deepen the supply-side structural reform, follow the guidelines to consolidate foundations, strengthen areas of weakness, highlight strengths, and upgrade the business environment. We will speed up building a modern industrial system, and foster a new, dual-cycle development architecture with the domestic cycle as the mainstay andwith domestic and international development reinforcing each other. These methods will help to make a good start for the development of a modern socialist China in all respects. Thank you.
Now, the floor is open for questions. Please identify your news outlet before you raise your question.
What progress and achievements has China made in the manufacturing industry during the 13th Five-Year Plan period? How does the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology evaluate these accomplishments? Thank you.
The manufacturing industry is the lifeblood of China's economy and of critical significance to long-term national development. Whether it's in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects or in the new upcoming journey of building a modern socialist country, the manufacturing industry has always and will always shoulder lofty responsibilities and have major missions to perform. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, the industry and information technology sector has fully implemented the policies and arrangements of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and made solid progress in building China into a manufacturer of quality products. Remarkable achievements have been made in this regard. I'd like to summarize the accomplishments in five aspects: continuously leading the way in terms of growth, solid results achieved in innovation, significant structural improvements, faster growth of enterprises, and increased levels of opening-up. To prove these five statements, I'd like to share some data with you.
First, comprehensive strength has been further enhanced. From 2016 to 2019, China's total value-added in industry increased from 24.54 trillion yuan to 31.71 trillion yuan, registering an average annual growth rate of 5.9%, much higher than the world's 2.9% during the same period. In 2019, our value-added in the manufacturing industry accounted for 28.1% of the global total, up 1.8 percentage points from 2015, with China remaining the world's largest manufacturing country for 10 consecutive years. At present, China is the only country in the world that has 41 major industrial categories, 207 medium industrial categories, and 666 industrial sub-categories in the United Nations' International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC). For the first nine months of this year, the total added value of industry above designated size grew by 1.2% year-on-year, and that of the third quarter grew by 5.8%, showing a recovery trend quarter by quarter.
Second, innovation capacity has been significantly increased. In 2019, the investment of our industrial enterprises above designated size in research and development (R&D) reached 1.32% of GDP, up 0.42 percentage points from 2015. A manufacturing innovation network with 17 national manufacturing innovation centers as the core and over 100 supplementary provincial centers has taken initial shape. In 2020, China ranks 14th on the Global Innovation Index of World Intellectual Property list, up 15 places from 2015.
Third, industrial structure has consistently improved. The steel industry achieved its 13th Five-Year Plan target of cutting overcapacity by 150 million tons two years ahead of schedule. Demonstration and application of smart manufacturing has been accelerated. By June 2020, the penetration rate of digital tools for R&D and design as well as the numerical control rate of critical processes for enterprises in key areas of the manufacturing industry stood at 71.5% and 51.1%, respectively, up 14.8 and 3.8 percentage points from 2015. The value-added in high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing accounted for 14.4% and 32.5%, respectively of the total value-added in industry above designated size, 2.6 and 0.7 percentage points up from 2015, constituting a major driving force in manufacturing development.
Fourth, high-quality enterprises have grown faster and leading enterprises have continued to gain global competitiveness. Leading companies with strong innovation capacity and international competitiveness have emerged in the fields of information and communications, rail transit, new energy vehicles, etc. Thirty-eight Chinese manufacturing companies are on this year's Fortune Global 500 list, ranking first in the world for the most companies listed from one country. Eighteen Chinese manufacturing brands entered the world's top 500 most valuable brands list this year. Additionally, 14 Chinese companies made it onto Forbes' top 100 digital companies list in 2019.
Fifth, China is opening up further. Restrictions on general manufacturing sector are being removed in an orderly manner. Caps on ownership in automobile, shipping, and aircraft sectors are being gradually lifted.High-speed railways, nuclear power, and satellite systems are gradually going overseas. In 2019, China's industrial products were exported to nearly 200 countries and regions, with exports accounting for 71% and 21% of China's total exports and global demand, respectively, occupying a key position in the global industrial chain and supply chain. By the end of 2019, China had signed industrial capacity cooperation agreements with more than 30 countries along the Belt and Road routes and over 70 overseas economic and trade cooperation zones had been established. Thank you.
Red Star News:
During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, cheaper and faster internet access — which is related to people's sense of gain — has brought about many changes to the lives of ordinary Chinese. Could you explain what achievements have been made in this regard in recent years? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. Boosting broadband speeds and lowering internet service rates are not only "gifts" for our people, they are also important steps in driving consumption, advancing entrepreneurship and employment, and promoting the transformation and upgrading of the national economy. In 2016, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed accelerating popularization of information services to offer the general public accessible, affordable and quality services. In this way, hundreds of millions of Chinese people can have a stronger sense of gain in sharing the fruits of internet development. Since the beginning of the 13th Five-Year Plan period, we have done much work in this regard. The main achievements have been as follows:
"Accessible" refers to the availability of internet services; "affordable" indicates lower charges for such services; and "quality services" mean fast and smooth internet connections. To achieve these three goals, we improved the network performance. Currently, China's internet development is leading the world.
First, the network capability has been significantly improved. In 2015, we began speeding up broadband, cutting internet service fees, and vigorously promoting the construction of high-speed broadband, notably fiber optic and 4G. In 2019, the MIIT launched an action plan to pushing both fixed and mobile network into the gigabyte era, as well as increasing both the proportion of broadband users of 100MB or more and the penetration rate of 4G subscribers, accelerated the development of gigabyte fiber optic and 5G, and constantly improved the capacity of broadband infrastructure services. Thanks to the combined efforts of various parties during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, China has established the world's largest information and communication network. Now, our 4G base stations account for more than half of the world's total. Starting from last year, we have also built more than 690,000 5G base stations in under one year.
Second, network rates have multiplied. With technology evolving and upgrading as well as previously existing network infrastructure, our network rates have multiplied. Over the past five years, the share of fiber optic communication users has risen from 34% to 93%. In addition, the proportion of 4G subscribers grew from 7.6% to the current 81%, well above the global average. According to recent data from the Broadband Development Alliance, the average end-to-end download speed for fixed broadband and 4G in China registered a more than sevenfold increase from 2015. The end-to-end rates of our fixed network and mobile network (4G) now stand at 43MB and 29MB respectively, markedly improving the user experience.
In terms of affordability, we have done a lot of work to cut telecommunication prices.
First, people's sense of gain has been enhanced. We encouraged enterprises to introduce various preferential fee programs, cancelled domestic long-distance and roaming charges for cellphones as well as data roaming charges, adopted such measures as "rollover data services" (allowing users to carry forward unused monthly data allowance) and "increasing the internet speed but not service fees," and rolled out the "floor price" scheme to meet the demand of low-income and elderly groups. We have offered the maximum discount to households registered as living under the poverty line and assisted in targeted poverty alleviation with regard to networks. We helped reduce the production and operating costs of enterprises and boosted the development of the real economy. Over the past five years, average charges for fixed broadband and cellphone data in China have dropped by more than 95%, to only a fraction of what they were five years ago on a unit price basis. These diverse measures have benefitted over one billion cellphone and communication users every year, thereby increasing people's sense of gain.
Second, popularization and application of the internet have been advanced. Previously, cellphone users would often search for free Wi-Fi when they visited somewhere new, but they no longer do so because data fees are much cheaper now. This is the benefit that the majority of our users can feel most. The lowering of charges and fees has promoted the popularization and application of the internet. The average monthly data consumption of each user is now 10.86GB, which is 38 times higher than that of 2015. Back then, cellphone users consumed an average of just 287.9MB of data per month, typically only enough for two episodes of a comedy series. Various mobile apps are being popularized rapidly, and basic services such as e-commerce, fast mobile payments as well as innovations in the fields of internet combined with education, healthcare and elderly care are constantly being made, making the government's public services more systematic and efficient.
Furthermore, by deepening integration and application, the digital economy has achieved leapfrog development.
First, it gave birth to the development of emerging industries. The boosting of broadband speeds and lowering rates for internet services has promoted the rapid development of the internet industry. Various applications such as online shopping, online education, mobile payments, and short video sharing have fully influenced our everyday life. There are seven internet companies in total on the latest Fortune Global 500 list, four of them are from China: JD.com, Alibaba, Tencent, and Xiaomi.
Second, it injected new impetus to traditional industries. In recent years, thanks to the strong support of network infrastructure and accelerated integration of information and communication technology and the real economy, more and more industries have become "intelligent." Intelligent manufacturing, intelligent agriculture, intelligent tourism and other new integrations and applications have sped up the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, helping more and more industries to enter the information highway. Driven by new information and communication technologies and new forms of business, China's digital economy has gained a strong growth momentum. In 2019, the economic aggregate of digital economy reached 35 trillion yuan ($5.23 trillion), accounting for 36.2% of China's GDP and aggregately contributing 67.7% to GDP.
While the urban broadband network is developing rapidly, we are focused on the construction of broadband networks in rural and remote areas. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, in accordance with the general principle of "the central government guiding with funds, local governments coordinating and supporting, enterprises and entities promoting," the central government increased fiscal investment, and basic telecommunication enterprises actively played their "national team" role and constantly increased investment in rural construction. Over the past five years, thanks to the concerted efforts of all involved parties, more than 98% administrative villages and poor villages in impoverished three regions and three prefectures have been equipped with fiber-optic cables and 4G networks. The speed of fiber optic network in those pilot administrative villages reached 70Mbps and up. The level of information infrastructure has been rising in rural and remote areas, and internet speeds there is just as fast as it is in cities. Emerging industries including rural e-commerce, rural tourism, and intelligent agriculture sprang up, while high-quality public resources extended to rural areas and the "digital divide" between urban and rural areas was markedly narrowed. All of these achievements are praised by the public as "happiness at our fingertips."
On one hand, we will further promote the speed and quality of networks, and speed up its evolution and upgrading. On the other, we will encourage basic telecommunication enterprises to continuously cut fees and improve their quality and level of service to meet all of this year's targets as well as the new demands for the integrated development of information technology with the economy and society in general.
During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, China will build a new, dual-cycle development architecture with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other. What's the MIIT's plan for the next year to get a head start on the 14th Five-Year Plan? Thank you.
This is a very important question. Today's world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. This year, the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated such changes. In the 14th Five-Year Plan period, China will enter an important period of strategic opportunity during which much can be achieved. Meanwhile, the international community is experiencing profound changes in economic, scientific and technological, cultural, security, and political areas. Next year is the first year of the 14th Five Year Plan and also the first year in which we will embark on a new journey towards the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a modern socialist country. Following the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, our industrial and information technological departments will fully implement the decisions and arrangements made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, foster the spirit of winning, carry out pragmatic measures, stimulate innovative vitality, seek breakthroughs in reform, and fight actively for a good start to the 14th Five-Year Plan.
Next year, guided by the new development philosophy and the theme of promoting high-quality development and pursuing supply-side structural reform as main task, we will implement guidelines in "consolidating, strengthening, upgrading, and ensuring unimpeded flows," and unswervingly build China into a major country in areas of manufacturing and cyberspace.We will strengthen independent innovation, promote a high-level industrial base and modern industrial chain, set up a batch of national pilot zones for manufacturing high-quality development and advanced manufacturing clusters, and cultivate a group of excellent enterprises with global competitiveness. We will enhance quality, efficiency, and core competitiveness in industry and information technology development, and step up efforts in middle and high-end industrial chains. We will provide higher quality industrial products and better information and communication services to satisfy the people's growing needs for a better life, to build a new, dual-cycle development architecture with the domestic cycle as the mainstay and with domestic and international development reinforcing each other, and support to build China into a modern socialist country. Thank you.
Hong Kong Economic Herald:
China's digital economy has flourished in recent years, becoming a new driver for economic growth. My question is, what steps have the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology taken to boost the digital economy? Thank you.
I would like to invite Mr. Lu Shan to field this question.
Thank you for your question. I will give some figures to show how China's digital economy has grown during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. During the period, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has steadily advanced the digital economy in accordance with the plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. Just as Mr. Wang and Mr. Wen has said, China's digital economy expanded from 11 trillion yuan at the beginning of the period to 35.8 trillion yuan in 2019, that is, 36.2% of China's GDP. Good results have been achieved, which can be seen through the "industrial transformation of digital technologies" and the "digital transformation of industries," as I will detail next.
First, the industrial transformation of digital technologies. For this, I'd like to use the example of internet infrastructure, which is a major area of industrialization. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, we have built the world's biggest fiber-optic and 4G network, and are in the process of deploying the 5G network. Hardware and software are also important areas that have undergone industrialization. As you can see, during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, besides traditional laptops, desktops, and servers, we also saw a growing number of smartphone apps coming into use, including the very voice recorders that you are using at this press conference that can not only recognize speech but also connect to the internet. The software industry has made a huge contribution to the digital economy during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. In 2019, it registered another rapid annual growth of 15.4% to reach a revenue of 7.2 trillion yuan. In addition, we have seen a large number of enterprises coming forth and providing solutions related to the digital economy. We also successfully pushed for the building of eight national comprehensive experimental zones for big data, 11 national demonstration centers for the new industrialization of big data, and 13 software cities, which now serve as important bases for China's software industry and the digital economy.
Second, the digital transformation of industries. E-commerce and mobile payment platforms have boomed. Manufacturing and the industrial sector as a whole have also made good progress. For example, we have built over 70 influential industrial internet platforms, which connect to 40 million sets of industrial equipment. The number of industrial apps has exceeded 250,000. These are all typical examples of the digital transformation of industries. We have selected over 400 pilot and demonstration programs for digital transformation in the fields of industry, government service, and livelihood initiatives.
To boost the digital economy, we have also made efforts in the following two aspects. One was to create a more favorable environment for development. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, we adopted the Big Data Industry Development Plan (2016-2020) and the Guidelines on Industrial Big Data Development. We also set up software schools with different focuses to develop new engineering disciplines and train digital economy talents. We also gave guidance to the release of 24 big data-related national standards and held exhibitions. Second, we expanded openness and international cooperation. This was achieved through an active emphasis on digital economy cooperation to strengthen strategic mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation through the G20 and BRICS, as well as China-Europe, China-ASEAN, and China-Russia relationships, and other multilateral and bilateral mechanisms.
During the 14th Five-Year Plan period, the ministry will continue to accelerate high-quality development of the digital economy, promote the industrial transformation of digital technologies and the digital transformation of industries, improve the development environment, and seek higher standards of openness and cooperation.Thank you.
The 13th Five-Year Plan sets out precise requirements for constructing a new-generation information infrastructure. How's it going on so far? I also noticed on a message board on People.cn that some people are dissatisfied with the current development of the industry and information technology sector, and some do not understand why 5G base stations are built in residential communities. Some netizens also suggest improving relevant apps and notifications on mobile phones. What will MIIT do next? How will you improve people's satisfaction and sense of gain during the upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan period? Thank you.
Thanks for your questions. I just introduced the achievements in information and communications infrastructure made during the 13th Five-Year period. The Chinese government highly values the construction of information and communications infrastructure. Its strategies of "Broadband China" and building China's strength in cyberspace place information and communications infrastructure in an equally important position as those of water, electricity and roads.
We mobilized all sectors and the whole society to boost the construction of information and communications infrastructure. During the 13th Five-Year period, we established a principle of being moderately proactive. From copper fibers to optical fibers, from 3G to 4G, and from 4G to 5G, we have built up world-class, high-quality and economical communication networks, granting people access to all kinds of networks, technologies and applications.
First, we followed a clear path of moderately proactive construction. Since 2015, we have taken actions to speed up broadband and lower internet rates for four consecutive years and construct role-model cities to implement the "Broadband China" strategy and develop optical networks. Last year, we launched policies to raise both fixed and mobile broadband to the gigabit level and expand the number of 4G and broadband users. We published requirements for the construction of gigabit network for a hundred of cities initiative and helped improve local policies. Since the beginning of the 13th Five-Year period, we have built up the largest communications network in the world, with 4G base stations all over the country and over 80 million users of gigabit-level optical fibers. The Internet speed doubles with the upgrade of technologies and networks, as well as with the proactive construction of the infrastructure. These figures are very impressive.
Second, we provided universal services to deal with weaknesses. Since 2015, we have launched pilot universal telecommunications services in six batches, together with the finance authority. In rural areas, we have extended optical fibers to village committees, schools and hospitals and covered every corner with the 4G network; we have also offered villagers a series of preferential policies in broadband fees. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, the proportion of optical fibers in administrative villages increased from 70% to 98%, and people there enjoy the same network and speed as city residents.
Third, we speeded up IPv6 development. The development of the next-generation internet based on IPv6 is an important step and an inevitable trend and is of great long-term significance to improve internet capacity and services. The general offices of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council released an action plan for IPv6 development in 2017. Since then, with various localities, government departments and related companies working together, the upgrading of the IPv6 for fixed broadband and mobile LTE networks in China has been completed. The quality of IPv6 network is now much the same as the previous IPv4 network. In 2018, the number of users who had access to IPv6 addresses was 74 million. By September this year, it was 1.457 billion. IPv6 traffic on the LTE network is also growing rapidly, accounting for 1.7% of the total last year and jumping to 13% this September.
Next, we will shift from universal coverage to high-quality development. This work can be divided into three aspects. First, we will continue building the infrastructure for raising both fixed and mobile broadband to the gigabit level and accelerate 5G development. We will make innovations in network slicing and virtual private networks for industry, improve network coverage, promote the construction and upgrading of the gigabit-level optical fiber network and improve the overall loading capacity of communications networks. Second, we will push forward pilot projects of universal telecommunications services. On the basis of achieving the goal of winning the battle against poverty, we will continue to effectively synchronize poverty eradication with rural vitalization and further deepen network coverage in rural and remote areas, letting more villagers better enjoy the fruits of IT development. Third, we will promote innovations in application. We will focus on application innovation of 5G and gigabit-level optical fibers and dig into vertical industry demands, while encouraging broader and deeper collaborative innovation between the information and communications industry and transportation, medical care, energy, education, and other industries, so as to constantly enrich application scenarios and build an ecosystem with wide applications. That's all.
Regarding the question just now, some people do not understand why 5G base stations are built in residential communities. The most important thing is that the two sides should strengthen communications. From a technical perspective, we attach great importance to the health of the people. In terms of technical indicators, when building base stations, our requirements to limit radiation are stricter than those of other foreign countries. You can see the specific indicators from relevant standards and we are cooperating with departments concernedto strictly follow these indicators.
Regarding difficulties in building base stations in communities, we have done a lot of work. Recently, we have worked with several ministries and commissions to jointly resolve those difficulties as well as the problem of "the last 100-meters" broadband access.
Regarding the issue of not allowing entry, we have seen that it is very difficult for operating companies to resolve these difficulties. In some areas, operating companies have jointly issued certain announcements. We also regret this. Operating companies should do more work in persuading residents, and explain to them properly because many people have the need for information services.
What achievements have been made concerning China's major technical equipment in recent years? What can be called "new business cards" made in China?
Thank you for your questions, I will elaborate on the progress of China's major technical equipment during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. Major technical equipment are connected to the lifeline of the national economy and national security, and they are generally basic and strategic products. The development of major technical equipment sector reflects the development capabilities and level of a country's manufacturing industry. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, we have made many great achievements.
First, breakthroughs have been made in a number of high-end equipment related to the national economy and people's livelihood. You may already be very familiar with the Tianwen-1 and BeiDou-3 satellite system mentioned in Mr. Wang's speech just now. Mr. Wang also mentioned the two polar scientific research ships, Xuelong and Xuelong 2, which both traveled to the Antarctic for scientific expeditions and research, and are the most advanced scientific research ships. There is also the offshore drilling platform "Blue Whale One," which is now the most advanced offshore drilling platform in the world, and successfully exploited combustible ice this year. In addition to those achievements in the arenas of sky, sea, and earth, there have also been breakthroughs in our processing capabilities. Notable examples include the five-axis mirror machine, which is an important tool for symmetrical processing, and equipment that allows for large-scale liquid-filled stretching of 15,000 tons of aerospace components, as opposed to the previous method of welding. Therefore, a large number of equipment has reached internationally advanced levels.
Second, as Mr. Wang shared with you just now, our high-speed trains now "go global," our nuclear power facilities "go global," and our satellites "go global." In addition to these, I would like to share with you an example closer to us. During the pandemic outbreak, many medical and protective materials "went global," and many medical devices have also successfully gone global. An example is the world's first two-meter-long total body PET-CT, developed by Shanghai-based United Imaging Healthcare, which has been used in scientific research institutions in the United States. In addition, some China-made CT machines, nuclear magnetic resonance machines and linear accelerators have been sold to more than 10,000 medical companies in more than 110 countries around the world. This shows that many of our "new business cards" have been recognized by people all over the world.
Behind these two aspects is the emergence of several internationally competitive leading companies. I can give you examples: rail transit equipment produced by CRRC Corporation Limited, shield tunneling machines produced by China Railway Construction Corporation and China Railway Construction Heavy Industry Corporation, cranes produced by Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Co.'s port machinery, TBEA's UHV transmission and transformation equipment, and high-efficiency and clean power generation equipment produced by the three power corporations of Harbin Electric Corporation, Dongfang Electric Corporation, and Shanghai Electric Group. The competitiveness of this equipment in the global market has been greatly improved. In addition to the rise of these suppliers of complete-machines and systems, we have witnessed that there are also a large number of enterprises involved in specialization, refinement, innovation, as well as "little giant" enterprises (medium and small-sized enterprises with great potential, leading R&D and boast good market shares) that are supporting from behind the scenes.
These are the achievements in major equipment made during the 13th Five-Year Plan period. We believe that with the high-quality development of China's manufacturing industry during the 14th Five-Year Plan period, there will be more and more "new business cards" that will benefit the people and be recognized by the world. Thank you.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone for national economic and social development. In recent years, our country has introduced a series of policies and measures to support SMEs. Could you please elaborate on the efforts made by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in this regard during the 13th Five-Year Plan period? Have those supportive measures been effective? What measures will the MIIT adopt to further promote the healthy development of SMEs? Thank you.
Thank you for your questions. While attaching great importance to large-scale leading enterprises, such as CRRC, China Mobile and Huawei, we should pay equal attention to the large number of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). MSMEs are: a primary contributor to national economic and social development; an important source of technological innovation; and provide vital support to expanding job opportunities and improving people's livelihoods. Promoting the development of SMEs is hugely important to ensure stability on six fronts (employment, the financial sector, foreign trade, foreign investment , domestic investment, and expectations) and maintain security in six areas (job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments).
The State Council has established a leading group on promotion of the development of SMEs, and its office is located in the MIIT. During the 13th Five-Year Plan period, the MIIT has earnestly performed the duties of the office, played its full part in its coordinating role, and made solid progress in promoting the development of SMEs. In general, we have concentrated our efforts on the following three aspects during the 13th Five-Year Plan period, and tangible results have been achieved.
First, we have promoted the establishment of systems to provide legal and policy support to SMEs. The business environment is crucial to enterprises, while a complete system of relevant laws and regulations plays a very important role in creating a business environment conducive to the regular operation of enterprises. Currently, after years of effort, a system of supportive laws and regulations has taken shape at national level, which consists of "one law, one regulation and two guidelines." "One law" refers to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Promoting Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, which was amended in 2017. The MIIT had taken part in the entire process of the law amendment and carried out an inspection on the law enforcement last year together with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in order to promote the implementation of the law. "One regulation" refers to a newly-released regulation on ensuring timely payments to SMEs. The regulation is very important. It is a concrete measure to implement the law on promoting SMEs and enhance the protection of the rights and interests of SMEs. In fact, many countries have similar laws and regulations. "Two guidelines" are respectively the guideline on promoting the healthy development of SMEs issued by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council in 2019, and the guideline on improving systems for providing support to SMEs released by 17 government departments, including the MIIT and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) this year. The two guidelines focus on solving major problems SMEs are facing right now and push forward the building of a regular and long-term mechanism to promote the development of SMEs.
Second, we have promoted the specialization of SMEs. The specialization of enterprises, especially of SMEs, represents a general trend across the globe. The efforts made by China in this regard mainly include improving the systems for cultivating SMEs in a phased manner to cultivate outstanding SMEs. 27 competent authorities nationwide in provincial regions, including municipalities with independent planning authority with a high level of industrial development and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, issued methods for defining cultivation of outstanding SMEs. Enterprise cultivation centers have been established in 29 provincial regions, nurturing more than 60,000 SMEs. At present, more than 20,000 enterprises have been defined as outstanding SMEs at provincial level. The MIIT released the first batch of 248 "little giant enterprises" at national level. They were selected from among the outstanding SMEs. Each of them focuses on a market niche and masters key technologies and has a strong innovative capacity and a big market share. The ministry is now organizing the cultivation of the second batch of "little giant enterprises."
Third, continue improving the public service system for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SMEs are not as strong as large companies and require assistance and support in the public service sectors. The MIIT has cultivated and identified 657 national public service-based demonstration platforms designated for SMEs and 329 national entrepreneurship and innovation-oriented demonstration bases for small- and micro-sized enterprises. Over 3,600 provincial-level demonstration platforms and more than 2,400 provincial-level entrepreneurship and innovation demonstration bases for micro firms have been established. We support 101 real-economy development zones in developing integrated large-, medium- and small-sized enterprise accommodation carriers with distinctive features and promote more than 100,000 service sectors to offer good and convenient services forSMEs. Meanwhile, we have entrusted third party organizations to conduct development environment assessments of SMEs, to ensure an optimized growth environment.
Next, we will strengthen our efforts to actively cooperate with members of the State Council Leading Group for Promoting the Development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and carry out policies to ensure that SMEs are innovation-oriented and of high quality. Thank you.
Now, we'll take the last question.
In recent years, the fast growth of the industrialInternet industry has been playing an increasingly significant role in the national economy. As such, how has the industrial Internet industry developed during the 13th Five-Year Plan period? And what efforts will be made going forward? Thank you.
The Internet industry, and particularly the industrialInternet industry, is always a hot topic when it comes to high-quality development. I would like to invite Mr. Wen to answer your questions.
Since the publishing of the State Council's Guiding Opinions on Enhancing the "Internet + Advanced Manufacturing" and Developing Industrial Internet, significant achievements have been made in the industrialInternet community. Innovation-oriented projects concerning the industrial Internet are running smoothly, with high-quality outer networks featuring low time-delay, high reliability and wide coverage reaching over 300 cities, connecting more than 180,000 industrial enterprises, accelerating the "5G+Industrial Internet" 512 Project, with local basic telecom firms actively cooperating with industrial enterprises and over 800 projects under construction. Our efforts include: breakthroughs in the identification resolution system and the establishment of national top nodes in the five big cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Wuhan and Chongqing. In addition, 75 secondary nodes are running online, more than 70 influential platforms have been built, 40 million industrial installations have been connected, safety capacity has been greatly improved, over 30 key industries have been covered by integrated-application, and five new models — smart manufacturing, network cooperation, customized, wide-range service and digital management — are actively innovated with high quality and low cost. In addition, thescale of industrial Internet reached 3 trillion yuan ($447 billion); integrated industrial connections have been strengthened, with members of the Alliance of Industrial Internet reaching 1700; cooperation between relevant technologies, standards, R&D and applications has been enhanced, and its pillar rolehas gradually emerged in the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry as well as high-quality development of the real economy.
Going forward, the MIIT will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, thoroughly put into practice the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and promote the innovation-driven development of the industrial internet. We will maintain a strategic focus and coordinate our efforts to do the following:
First, strengthen the development of the network, platform, and security systems. We will develop a high-quality network system for the industrial internet.Guided by the 512-project promotion plan for "5G + industrial Internet," we will continue to upgrade the intranet and extranet of enterprises, grow identity resolution systems, and expand the application of the systems. We will improve the industrial internet's platform by building a large data center and promote cloud services for enterprises. In addition, we will further increase the security capacity of the industrial internet.
Second, deepen integrated and innovative applications. We will build demo centers and pilot programs for the application of the industrial internet and encourage its innovative application within enterprises. We will foster and promote new models and new forms of business, such as intelligent manufacturing, internet-based coordination, custom-tailored production, service extension, and digital management, as well as fuel the digital transformation of enterprises.
Third, cement the foundation for industrial development. We will focus on the innovation-driven development of the industrial internet, improve public service platforms, and cultivate system solution providers. We will accelerate the application of new-generation information technology, including 5G, blockchain, and AI in the industrial internet, as well as grow special industries, cement industrial foundations, and modernize industrial internet chains.
Fourth, create a favorable development environment. For the next stage, we will develop policies for the innovation-driven development of the industrial internet. We will press ahead with reforms to streamline administration and delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. We will also optimize the development environment, strengthen the formulation of industrial standards, and enhance industry-finance and industry-education cooperation. Finally, we will promote the sharing of the industrial internet and big data. Thank you.
Thank you to Mr. Wang, his fellow speakers, and our media friends. That ends today's press conference.
Translated and edited by Zhang Liying, Zhang Junmian, Guo Yiming, Wang Wei, Xu Xiaoxuan, Fan Junmei, Li Huiru, Lin Liyao, Wang Yanfang, Yuan Fang, Wang Qian, Zhang Jiaqi, Yang Xi, Li Xiao, Zhang Tingting, Zhang Rui, David Ball, Laura Zheng, and Tom Arnstein. In case of any discrepancy between the English and Chinese texts, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.