Technology to be 7 percent of China's GDP by 2005

Information technology will account for 7 percent of China's total gross domestic product (GDP) by 2005 if the country meets the targets set under its Tenth Five-Year Plan (2001-2005), said Xu Xiaotian, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Information Industry's (MII's) Administration of Electronic Information Products, speaking at the Cebit Asia Forum here Wednesday.

China's government lays out its national economic plans and targets every five years, a practice that stretches back to 1950 and reflects the country's roots as a centrally planned economy.

The IT industry is expected to account for 4.5 percent of China's 2001 GDP, according to MII estimates. To achieve the ambitious targets laid out by the Tenth Five-Year Plan, the output of China's IT industry will need to grow by an average of 20 percent per year, far outstripping China's overall economic growth rate, Xu said. The country's overall economic growth rate has hovered near 8 percent in recent years, despite recent signs of an economic slowdown in other countries.

"We must have further growth," Xu said, adding, "We can make the IT industry a pillar industry of the national economy."

By 2005, China will have 400 million computers connected to the Internet and boast an online population of 200 million users, Xu said. In addition, the country's total IT industry output will reach 1.5 trillion renminbi (US$157.1 billion), he said. Total IT exports are expected to reach US$100 billion annually, double the 2000 export figure.

The Cebit Asia Forum is being held concurrently with the Cebit Asia exhibition, which runs through Saturday, August 11.

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