‘Complete industrial chain’ forms in China’s tech sector

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Technology is at the core of the "Made in China 2025" policy. Illustration: iStock

Hundreds of Chinese companies are adopting blockchain technology, according to an official white paper document released this week by Beijing’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The reports says that by April 2018, there were 456 blockchain-related companies in the country, forming what Chinese State news agency Xinhua describes as “a complete industrial chain.” This includes, says the report, blockchain-related hardware manufacturing, platform services, security services, industrial technology application services, investment and financing, media and human resources services.

“The industry is developing rapidly with more and more entrepreneurs and capital entering the market,” said the ministry white paper, adding that 178 new companies were established during 2017 following what Xinhua described as the “rapid popularization and maturation of the technology.”

The white paper said there have been more than 100 equity stock investment deals in 2017 – more than in any other year – and in the first quarter of 2018 alone there have already been 68 such equity deals recorded.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, that has overall responsibility for all of China’s internet, broadcasting and publishing, also announced last week it is going to start producing a ‘Global Public Chain Assessment Index’ list that aims to offer “independent analysis” on world-wide blockchain technology trends and projects. The ministry said the index will also assess the performance of leading crypto-currencies, which surprised many in the sector because of the previous tough stance Beijing has taken on crypto-currency trading and initial coin offerings.

The Assessment Index, says the ministry, will provide government, academic and industry reports that evaluate and review the performance of national and industry-led blockchain projects while also providing benchmark views on the most popular global crypto tokens, from Bitcoin to Zcash.

Beijing has been enthusiastic in its encouragement and adoption of the new technology and in 2017, China filed more applications for blockchain patents than the rest of the world put together. Interest has come from across the economy and includes state-owned Bank of China – that in February applied for a patent related to a blockchain “scalability solution” that aims to solve storage issues that arise as increasingly large amounts of transactions mount on a ledger – and also China’s tech giants, Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei and Tencent, who have all, in recent months, announced plans for blockchain-based service platforms.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology white paper published on Sunday pointed out that the industry is still in a nascent stage, but more projects are under way as “rapid industrial expansion continues.”

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