China is learning from past and looking into future

By Jagadish Pokhrel, Beijing, Mar 28: Chinese megacities are abuzz with people and machines trained to learn from the past and deliver a future of greater ease and efficiency for the world to see through international events.

Alongside its hustle and bustle to mark the founding of the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China, the municipality of Beijing is gearing up to hold the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the 20th International Horticulture Exhibition.

The end-of-April forum expects to gather leaders from 100 countries to discuss practical cooperation and business cases. The exhibition, scheduled for 162 days at the foothills of the Great Wall of China between 29 April to 7 October, hopes to draw millions of visitors.

The tallest tower in Beijing. (photo: JP/TRN)

In May, the Conference on Dialogue among Asian Civilisations is set to emphasise mutual learning and shared future.

Three hours of flight southwest of Beijing, the Chongqing municipality, a picturesque city of rolling hills above the Yangtze and Jialing rivers, is brimming with business and conference activities, sharing the wonders it has created in industry, commerce, trade, tourism and culture with visitors from around the world.

To contribute to building a moderately prosperous China in all respects, these municipal governments, which have to report to the central administration, are set to seize, leverage and create all opportunities for a high-quality growth.

At the headquarters of JD.com, a Fortune Global 200 Company, for example, more than 70,000 people are at work every day to offer smart living, smart cities, smart solutions and smart supply chains.

The company of 170,000 staff and one billion users, listed in NASDAQ now, had started as a brick-and-mortar store in Beijing, with less than 10 people, before it grew to be an economic giant, the largest retailer of China, online and off, according to its vice-president and head of International Government Relations Christine Wong.

“We are the only company in the world that offers both e-commerce and logistics networks,” Koka Lan, the company’s public relations officer, tells a visiting media delegation from seven countries of Asia, while showing a cash-less and card-less store that employs computer vision to help make the sales. “Our online applications learn from the customer behaviour and recommend products to satisfy their needs. We have JD Pay, JD Finance and JD Digits and JD Logistics.”

Deploying data science, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, automation, robotics and autonomous vehicle systems, the company offers intelligent pricing, inventory management and fraud detection services.

Land and sea routes going from Chongqing shown at a presentation. (photo: JP/TRN)

Its logistics network covers 99% of China’s population and leverages a network of 550 warehouses and 7000 delivery stations to provide retail and logistics services to affluent urban residents, who make online orders from their mobiles. “Our overseas operations are fully automated,” says Koka Lan.

Investors of the company include Tencent, Walmart and Google.

On way to the Great Wall of China, the Huawei Exhibition Centre showcases information and communication technology, working at its best, for a future of fully connected, intelligent world.

With more than 180,000 employees working in 170 countries and regions, Huawei claims it has connected one-third of the world’s population, serving government, public utilities and enterprise customers in finance, energy, transportation and manufacturing. The company offers solutions to four key domains, telecom networks, IT, smart devices and cloud services.

Briefing on Chongqing’s historical, cultural and strategic importance, Jia Youngqiang, Deputy Head at General Office, Chongqing Reform and Development Commission, shares the achievements of the municipality in economic development, industrial clusters, opening up, the strategic land-sea corridor, infrastructure and science & technology.

Xu Yao, Head of Foreign Economics Division of the Chongqing Commerce Commission, says the megacity is becoming an inland international logistics hub, with massive volumes of cargoes coming from four directions and from four transportation modes, over land, sea and air.

Two hours of bus ride away, a high-tech logistics supply and warehouse office demonstrates the scale of the operation, with intelligent networks of JD.com and such other companies, boosting the efficiency in the delivery of goods.

As the tallest tower of Beijing, a 528-meter and 109-story structure, awaits its completion to reach into the skies, China, the world’s economic powerhouse, looks as if it is waiting in the wings to open up fully into a future full of hope for humanity.

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