LIVE FROM MWC23 SHANGHAI: Representatives from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) and the Ministry and Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) encouraged operators in the country to improve coverage in underdeveloped communities to spur uptake of digital services.

CAC director Zhuang Rongwen argued the industry must take the lead in expanding network coverage in rural and remote areas to close the digital divide.

“We shouldn’t neglect these communities and populations. The digital gap is something we should give more importance to by providing better and faster services.”

MIIT chief engineer Zhao Zhiguo also called on operators to speed 5G deployments outside of urban areas: “All key technologies should be better deployed in rural areas to narrow the digital divide.”

Zhao highlighted 5G services as a growth driver, noting the technology “is now intertwined with real economic development”.

Zhuang added a current de-globalisation trend left many gaps which need to be narrowed, suggesting developing common platforms and organising more joint research.

“We should work with each other to drive technology-driven economic development forward.”