Big data can ‘connect and change everything,’ Guiyang expo told

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Sun Zhigang, secretary of CPC Guizhou Provincial Committee and chairman of the Standing Committee of Guizhou Provincial People's Congress, delivering his speech during the opening ceremony of the Big Data Expo 2018 in Guiyang, Guizhou province on May, 26, 2018. Photo: AFP/Jadranko Marjanovic

Almost 200 deals worth more than 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion) were signed during China’s fourth International Big Data Industry Expo in Guiyang, capital of southwestern Guizhou Province, reports Xinhua.

The Expo, that was opened on Saturday by Guizhou CPC Party Chief Sun Zhigang, and ran until Tuesday, was billed as the world’s first big-data-themed exhibition. While Sun described the event as an “unprecedented success” with 388 businesses and organizations from 28 countries exhibiting and more than 50,000 people attending, the provincial Party Chief also pointed out the important social role that big data can play to help improve everyday lives across China.

Beijing is now “pushing forward the data integration of different government departments,” said Sun in his opening address to the Expo, to work on “poverty alleviation, public security, transportation, housing and urban-rural development.”

With poverty alleviation, Sun said the central government is introducing cloud-based data platforms that will identify and process applications from poor families to give them access to free high-school and university tuition, while the integration of big data into the country’s healthcare industry has enabled connectivity among provincial, municipal, county and village-level hospitals for the first time in China. This, said Sun, is helping to bring modern health care to China’s remotest areas.

Guizhou, both mountainous and land-locked, has traditionally been one of China’s poorest provinces but since 2014, when the provincial government started to offer business incentives to the big data sector – as well as cheap electricity, courtesy of the numerous hydro projects in the area – it has attracted increasing numbers of major tech firms. These now include Alibaba, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, Dell, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft and Qualcomm. The world’s biggest company Apple is also in the region as it now moving some of its Chinese user data to a $1 billion Guiyang-based data center that will open in 2020 under the management of a local business, the Guizhou-Cloud Big Data company.

In a letter read out to the Expo, President Xi Jinping focused on China’s move to become a technological powerhouse and outlined how Beijing’s ambitious big data plans, and their successful implementation in tech clusters like Guizhou, were an important part of the top-tier “Made in China 2025” strategy program.

Sun Zhigang – whose formal title is the Secretary of the CPC Guizhou Provincial Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of Guizhou Provincial People’s Congress – reiterated President Xi’s words by saying that the growing capability of Guizhou is accelerating the integration of big data into the real economy while also strengthening the role that this technology can play to help social governance.

“Data can connect and change everything,’ said Sun in summary, “but its integration can create intelligence… to provide a whole new channel for people to know and change the world.”

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