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Digital talent in China are more involved in ICT sector

By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai| China Daily| Updated: March 22, 2023 L M S



A higher ratio of digital talent in Chinese cities work in the information and communication technology sectors compared to many of their counterparts in the United States and Europe, according to a report based on user data from the professional social networking platform LinkedIn.

In the Chinese cities of Hangzhou, Beijing, Nanjing and Shenzhen, as well as in Bangalore, India, and the San Francisco Bay Area in the US, more than 30 percent of the local digital talent work in ICT industries.

However, in cities such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Chicago, Brussels and Copenhagen, the ratio of digital talent working in non-ICT sectors accounted for over 80 percent of the local digital talent pool.

The data were from the Annual Report on Global Digital Talent Development 2022, which was unveiled on Friday in Shanghai by US-based LinkedIn and Tsinghua University's Center for Internet Development and Governance at the School of Economics and Management.

Compared with figures from 2020, the proportion of digital talent in ICT industries in Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Beijing, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai increased, according to the report.

The figures showed that in the US and Europe, the integration of digital skills and the traditional industries is more advanced than in China thanks to the high level of information technology adopted in their traditional industries in the past, said Chen Yubo, a professor at the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua and head of the Center for Internet Development and Governance.

"However, if China accelerates the construction of new infrastructure, such as the industrial internet, it is expected that the country may find its own way of realizing the integration of digital technologies and real economy in a rapid manner," said Chen.

He took the example of China's development in e-commerce over the past two decades. He said the retail industry in the US and Europe took the traditional path of industrialization, which developed and grew mainly through the mergers and acquisitions of major retail giants.

However, major online shopping platforms thrived in China, and they have virtually integrated numerous offline stores of different sizes throughout the country instantly.

"Therefore, similarly, there are thousands of medium and small industrial enterprises in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces neighboring Shanghai. If the government establishes the industrial internet, the country will have a platform integrating the 'invisible champions' via digital approaches," said Chen.

"Only with the construction of such new infrastructure will we turn the scenario advantages of traditional industries into digital advantages, which will drive the flow of digital talent into such sectors," he said.

The report found that Chinese cities have obvious advantages over their counterparts in North America in the ratio of digital talent in manufacturing and consumer goods industries.

"It reminded us that when Chinese enterprises seek opportunities to expand overseas, they must play up their specialties and capture their advantages in countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative," said Chen.

Lu Jian, president of LinkedIn China, said one of the aims of the report is to assist enterprises with a global vision to have a clear idea of the distribution of digital talent in the world's most vibrant cities and participate in the division of labor in the global value chains at a higher level.

"Some Chinese new forces of globalization represented by those in intelligent manufacturing and every new field are transforming technologies and business model innovations into new driving forces," said Lu.

"Some global brands from China have begun to lead trends, and even promoted the development of emerging occupations overseas," he said.

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