China and the EU have integrated to a point where it is difficult to think one without the other. Such interdependence was already acknowledged by both sides when the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was concluded back in 2003. Not fortuitously, the first press statement released by new European Council President Donald Tusk after his appointment repeated China’s top strategic importance for the EU, urging for further developing the trade, economic, investment and political relations.
Internet, being an enabler of every industry, is a strategic component of the bilateral relationship. Indeed, powerful synergies can be enhanced through the combination of China’s fast growing digital economy with Europe’s highly evolved ICT sector. On the one hand, China’s Internet economy is growing steadily reaching 710 M Internet users as of June 2016 –and Chinese ICT companies are becoming global leaders –four out of the world’s top ten Internet companies are now Chinese. On the other hand, the EU is in a crucial moment with the implementation of its digital single market strategy, aiming to create a uniformed market of over 500 M customers.
Both regions have recognized the crucial role of the Internet for economic growth, committing to the digitalization of the economy through initiatives that, despite differing in names, have in fact converging objectives. China’s Internet Plus and Made in China 2025 strategies recall the European plans such as Industry 4.0, as they all look at upgrading the traditional industrial sectors through the use of big data technologies and Internet of things applications. Despite a similar political agenda in mind, there exist many differences in the very concept of cyberspace, in the ICT investment goals and in the legislation governing the sector.
ChinaEU wishes to make up for the current lack of dialogue, mutual understanding and business cooperation between Europe and China in the digital economy.
The mission of ChinaEU is to assist its members in exploiting the business opportunities created by the integration of China’s and the EU’s digital sectors in four priority areas:
- Digital innovation and high-tech entrepreneurship;
- Future 5G technology and business opportunities;
- Joint investments along the Digital Silk Road;
- Internet applications in traditional sectors, such as transport and tourism.