They have played a central role in stimulating jobs in China in the last 10 years. China has been more active in pushing technology into every corner of the economy: manufacturing, finance, retail, tourism, services.
First, technology enables the low-end of the labour force to operate in a similar manner. Because of technological advances like industrial robots, the low-end of the labour force has been able to live a more productive life.
Second, technology has created opportunities for people to engage with this new economy. It gives them a new skill set, and therefore they have a new career and they have more advantages than the low-end of the labour force.
Third, the economic structure of China has been changing rapidly and many jobs are disappearing. Technological advances have allowed people to find different ways to engage in the labour market. The employment opportunities have expanded.
Fourth, technology creates advantages and opportunities. Many people cannot see the opportunities because they are consumed by anxieties about the economy. Many countries are full of anxieties because of the economic growth of technology.
Fifth, people are innovating more rapidly. Technology has given people more opportunities. For example, a mobile phone does not have the rights to your private life. Therefore, technology encourages people to live more normal, private lives.
Sixth, the economic structure of China has changed. The role of the government has changed. People have new incentives to innovate, produce, and engage in the economic structure. So technology is helping to create opportunities, new jobs, and new wealth in the country.
Seventh, technological advancements have led to the economic advantages and the wealth that we have today. Today, people are better-off than 10 or 20 years ago. The big issues today are about inequality, public services, pollution, and consumption.
And, of course, technology is also creating a new political and cultural environment. We have different values. The new media has changed the way people engage in politics, and we have a new culture, where young people are more focused on the values and feelings, rather than the objects.
In the end, technology creates a more equitable economic structure. It creates opportunities for people. Technology is giving people advantages. We see the advantages in China. We have seen new opportunities because of technological advancements. We have seen a 10-year development of the Chinese economy. We have seen a 30-year development of the Chinese society.
Many people will argue that we should not rush into new economic opportunities because they are uncertain. I cannot argue with that. But we cannot stop doing that because we have so many disadvantages. I think, we have a different attitude because we have the hope for a better future and we are ready to change our priorities.
What are the advantages of doing nothing and losing 10 or 20 years?
I don’t think we should rush into new jobs. If we delay our decisions, we might regret it in the future. But I also think we need to have many different actions. That means the economy is changing rapidly. We need to ensure our policies are flexible.
We have many different policies, depending on the circumstance. This is a normal political condition for many countries around the world. The fundamental difference for China is that, if we were trying to make the economy grow with very specific policies, we may find ourselves with a severe setback in the future.
Now, it is the job of the government to push those policies. That is the best example that we have of people pushing technology and new opportunities into the country. That is the success of the Chinese government.
We have a lot of advantages because of this new policy. I think we are still benefiting from this new policy, but it does not mean the government cannot change its priorities in the future. You are currently leading the Business Services International Corporation (BSIC). What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that come from leading a state-owned enterprise?
The advantages are that this organization has been created in a very specific manner, specifically to help build China into a global market. Because of this new policy that is pushing to change the economic structure, new jobs are being created. Also, we have 10,000 experts in IT, for example. So, the organization is capable of creating many opportunities. We have a structure that can adapt quickly to new needs.
The disadvantage is, if the government were to continue to increase taxes, people would feel it. People would be angry because they could not find opportunities. If taxes go up more, people would feel a huge disadvantage. Also, the advantage of a state-owned enterprise is that we have relatively stable jobs. If something were to go wrong, the government can come and help us. But I don’t think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.