Wednesday, 2023 March 29

China’s leading technologies: AI, AV and EV, fintech, and agritech in action | Magnify China 2021

This is a summary of a presentation shared during KrASIA’s Magnify China 2021 on July 6 and 7. Check out other segments’ recaps here. If you have any inquiries regarding this event, feel free to reach us at

Technology is a key driver for China’s economic development. In 2020, China’s GDP reached USD 14.72 trillion, with an annual growth rate of 2.3%. According to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, technological progress contributed to more than 60% of its GDP growth. With an annual government R&D spending of over USD 350 billion, it’s no surprise that China has had the single largest source of patent applications for two consecutive years internationally, and also ranks second in international scientific publications.

Behind such strong innovation lies supportive government policy, world-class infrastructure, and the proliferate adoption of technologies. This presentation, led by Ben Jiang, vice president of new markets at 36Kr Global, looks at how technology developments are driving China’s economy by diving into these four different sectors—AI and 5G, autonomous and electric vehicles, fintech, and agritech.

AI and 5G products and services are now commonplace in China. People are used to things like smart domestic appliances, interactive online education, and games running on smartphones backed up by cloud computing, as well as the country’s Health Kit app that was widely implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic. With their ubiquitous presence, AI and 5G are disrupting many industries and business scenarios in China, including healthcare, logistics, and manufacturing.

In the global EV and AV industries, China is recognized as one of the leading markets, boasting a developed supply chain for the autonomous industry. For AVs, many companies develop self-driving algorithms, HD maps, 5G networks, electrical systems, and self-driving sensors, which include cameras, radars, and Lidar. On the other hand, companies that make electric motors, controllers, batteries, and charging stations form an ecosystem in the EV area. With the government setting ambitious goals, we can expect China to continue to advance these technologies and their applications.

A pioneer in the adoption of fintech, China’s financial industry sees AI, big data, 5G, IoT, and blockchain applied in many aspects. Big data analyses give financial institutions the means to improve their risk management and credit-scoring processes, making them more accurate and efficient. AI lays the foundation for automation and empowers financial institutions to make data-driven business decisions. Blockchain provides tamper-proof traceability and multi-party collaboration environments. Overall, the industry continues to evolve through digital banking initiatives and the digital yuan, refining banks’ accessibility and making transactions safer.

Agricultural technology plays a particularly important role in the digitalization of China’s rural economy. In 2020, the scale of China’s digital agricultural economy reached USD 902.5 billion. The country saw 60% growth in agricultural output due to advancements in agritech.

Two factors have fed into these remarkable achievements. The first has to do with China’s national strategy of “innovation-driven development.” Since 2012, the central government has invested RMB 2.6 billion each year to support more than 2,500 counties across the country that are heavily dependent on the agricultural economy, allowing them to upgrade their agricultural science and technologies. The second factor is the wide application of cutting-edge technologies, such as big data, cloud computing, IoT, AI, remote sensing, and 5G that empower the agriculture industry to become increasingly digitalized and intelligent.

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