Interview: More China-Europe partnerships will be seen in digital industry, says expert

LONDON, May 16 (Xinhua) — China is very successful in the digital economy, and more and more partnerships between European and Chinese companies will be seen in digital industry, Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, director general of DIGITALEUROPE has told Xinhua in a recent interview.

DIGITALEUROPE is the European organization that represents the digital technology industry whose members include 67 major technology companies and 40 national trade associations. Its corporate members include not only European companies such as Nokia, Siemens and Ericsson, but also Chinese companies like Huawei and Lenovo.

“For Europe, China has always been a very important partner, a trading partner. We are very interested in the dialogue (between Europe and China) on digital policies and digital trade in general,” said Bonefeld-Dahl.

She regarded partnership rather than competition as the necessity of the digital businesses. A lot of digital giants cooperate in different ways, she said, adding “it’s really becoming like a partnership between many of the businesses.”

Bonefeld-Dahl told Xinhua that they have planned a trip to China in July, visiting Shenzhen where they would see the headquarter of Huawei, their member, and Beijing where they would meet the digital agencies of the government.

“Many of the European companies, as our members, also have very big markets and develop rapidly in China, so we will also visit them the same way,” she noted.

China has pledged to do more to attract foreign investment and promote global cooperation, and Bonefeld-Dahl believed these moves are “very positive steps”.

“The different areas that were restricted to only Chinese companies before are gradually opening up. And I know China now is also planning on doing even more. This is of course a very positive development…There is no doubt that in the global economy, China is a very important player,” she said.

Regarding the development of digital technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence (AI), Bonefeld-Dahl pointed out that, although different approaches would be applied by Europe and China, they could find a common framework through dialogue.

She believed that China and the U.S. have taken the lead in AI whereas Europe should wake up to seize the opportunity.

“AI is much more used in China, and scalability is one of the things that China has…But we have highly skilled talents in university on artificial intelligence in Europe,” she explained.

Bonefeld-Dahl noted that China also has a huge e-commerce market and is “very positive” to partner with other World Trade Organization (WTO) members to initiate negotiations on trade-related aspects of electronic commerce.

“E-commerce is still a rising economy, and we have to find a common trade network in the future,” she told Xinhua. “It’s very positive that China is also engaging in those talks even though it has a huge market that no one could compete with.”

“We have Huawei and Lenovo as our members, but we don’t have many other Chinese corporate members right now.” Bonefeld-Dahl believed that as China becomes a more and more important player in the world digital economy, there would be more Chinese companies to become their members.


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