Speech by SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov at Smart China Expo 2019

Mr Vice Premier of the PRC State Council Liu He,

Mr Secretary of the Party Committee of Chongqing Chen Min'er,

Mr Mayor of Chongqing Tang Liangzhi,

Guests and participants in the Smart China Expo 2019, Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

First of all, I would like to thank the Government of the People's Republic of China, the authorities of the city of Chongqing and all the organisers of the expo for the invitation to this brilliant event and the hospitality afforded to us.

It is a great honour for me to represent the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation at this expo, which demonstrates the transition of human civilisation to a fundamentally new technological level that opens up a modern information era.

In a short span of time, the SCO and Chongqing have established a close partnership characterised by mutually beneficial cooperation.

In mid-May, Chongqing hosted China's first forum of regional heads of the SCO member states supported by the city leadership. The results of this meeting were praised by the heads of the SCO member states at the Bishkek Summit in July.

Chongqing is a key city on the Yangtze River, an important link on the Belt and Road route, and a bridge connecting the SCO member states with ASEAN countries.

I would like to express my confidence that the multi-purpose trade and economic platform that has been established in Chongqing will benefit all SCO members.

At the same time, we are seeing Chongqing gradually turn into China's intellectual centre, a place where representatives of the world's leading companies come to take part in breakthrough IT projects.

Therefore, it is only natural that Chongqing has been selected as the permanent venue of the forum and Smart China Expo after the impressive results of the first expo.

The modern world is on the threshold of unprecedented, truly revolutionary technological change. Globalisation continues to be relevant in the world but is being transformed into a new format.

The second digital revolution, associated with the synergy of artificial intelligence running on superfast 5G networks, robotics, bio- and nano-technologies, is blending the digital economy with the real economy. In the next few decades, we will see economic growth accelerate, which will influence ways of doing business and change our consciousness and lifestyle.

I think the future belongs to those who can effectively use the huge potential of the IT industry. This process, involving large-scale transformations in the economic and social spheres, is moving the centre of the global economy towards the East.

Most experts agree that in the coming decades, the Eurasian macro-region will become the driver of the global economy.

The countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, being at the centre of this region, consider improving the architecture of global economic management and further developing trade, economic and investment cooperation among their main priorities.

According to some estimates, the digital economy accounts for about 20 percent of global trade and is expected to increase to 25 percent by 2025.

However, the world does not have a comprehensive international system of trade rules regulating the digital economy.

I would like to note that the SCO is against protectionism and discriminatory measures that impede the development of the digital economy and communications technology.

The SCO is home to over 800 million young people aged 15 to 24 who are the most exposed to risks and threats in the information space.

In this regard, the SCO members need to combine efforts to ensure information security, as well as direct the development of ICT on the right track for the benefit of the youth of our countries and create a healthy digital culture in the SCO space and in the world.

China is the world's leader among the SCO member states and has a solid ICT production base, while India is at the top in ICT outsourcing. These states can help close the existing gap and achieve considerable benefits from digitisation in all SCO countries.

Recognising the importance of innovation and the digital economy as key factors in medium- and long-term economic growth and sustainable development, the heads of state at the Bishkek SCO summit approved the Concept of Cooperation of the SCO Member States in Digitalisation and Information and Communications Technology.

The main areas of cooperation are as follows: digital and telecommunications infrastructure; information security; e-government; smart city; internet of things; big data technology; artificial intelligence; blockchain technology; intelligent management systems; new production technology; and robotics and quantum computing systems.

Importantly, the SCO space has a receptive consumer market, a population of over 3 billion, rich natural resources, excellent human potential and advanced production technology.

The aggregate of national economies of the SCO member states exceeds 20 percent of the world's GDP. IMF experts predict its growth to reach 38-40 percent of the world's GDP by 2025.

This is a huge market for implementing joint innovation projects in the digital economy and IT.

The signing of a joint venture agreement between China's Alibaba Group and the Russian companies Mail.ru Group and MegaFon and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) exemplifies the start of successful cooperation in the SCO space. I am convinced that the use of Chinese technology will promote cooperation in innovations and the digital economy with a view to pursuing joint development, and creating new drivers and opportunities for economic growth in the SCO space and the world as a whole.

For instance, Alibaba Group top managers announced that owing to the digital platform, the company provided jobs to 40 million people. This is an impressive result! In value terms, this amounts to $2 billion.

Chongqing is becoming a centre of digital technology use. I would like to note as well that the technologies presented at the Smart China Expo are also priority areas for cooperation between the SCO member states.

It is also indicative that the SCO family of countries, whose products are on display in the SCO pavilion, are taking part in the second Smart China Expo. I am confident that cooperation with this city in digital technology will benefit all of our states.

The SCO Secretariat is interested in developing versatile cooperation with Chongqing and is ready to take part in the next China Smart Expo.

In conclusion, I would like to wish success to the EXPO organisers and participants.

Thank you for your attention!