China is rising as the world's data superpower
China is rising as the world's data superpower

China now accounts for 23% of cross-border traffic, nearly double the United States, which ranks second at 12%.

In the early days of the Internet boom in 2001, the United States was the main country for cross-border data transmission and location of technology companies, but the global data system is changing rapidly.

As the previously globalized internet begins to disintegrate and transform itself into an information network with national borders, China's rulers could become the dominant feature.

Information on cross-border data flows from the International Telecommunication Union shows that the flow of cross-border data from China in 2019 far exceeded all the other ten countries examined (including the United States of America).

Beijing's advantage lies in its connections to other parts of Asia, while the United States accounted for 45% of the data flow to and from China in 2001, while it fell to only 25% last year.

Currently, Asian countries make up more than half of the total, with Vietnam accounting for 17% and Singapore accounting for 15%.

Beijing is using the One Belt, One Road Infrastructure plan to encourage private-sector tech companies such as Alibaba and Tencent to expand overseas.

The Ant Group Alipay mobile payment platform is available in more than 55 countries / regions and is used by 1.3 billion people.

China overtook the United States in 2014 and its influence did not extend beyond national borders until the next few years.

As China has become the world's data superpower, China controls a large number of resources vital to its future economic competitiveness.

Data from outside can offer advantages in developing AI and information technology. In addition, China could be the largest beneficiary of a shared Internet.

Washington last year tried to separate China from the network infrastructure, but efforts to create a united front for liberal democracy to achieve this end have not yielded good results.

In July, the European Court of Justice annulled the data protection agreement between the United States and the European Union due to insufficient protection of personal data by the United States.

The court refused to allow the United States to monitor foreign nationals for potential terrorist threats. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Rose said he was deeply disappointed by the move.

The disruption of the global flow of data has hindered knowledge sharing on the Internet. More than 50 million programmers worldwide use the GitHub platform to collaborate on activities such as writing code, which has brought about numerous technological advances.

Due to concerns that tensions in China and the US could affect access to Microsoft GitHub, Chinese engineers are now using a separate Chinese platform called Gitee.

The fragmentation of the internet means that countries that can collect large amounts of data within their borders have an advantage in developing AI and other technologies.

There are signs that people are becoming the main drivers of innovation and economic growth. China's share reached 26.5% of the most-cited AI articles in 2018, and is rapidly approaching 29% of the United States.

The fragmentation of the internet affects the world's ability to work together to solve important problems such as the Coronavirus pandemic, environmental degradation and inequality.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Internet, warned that cyber conflict would affect any nation's ability to move into the digital world and advance the progress of all humankind.

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