Apple chief Tim Cook at the internet conference in China, which was also attended by the head of Google, Sundar Pichai. -AFP
China's digital economy accounts for nearly a third of gross domestic product, according to a report released at an annual cyberspace conference staged by the government to justify its strict internet censorship.Beijing this year has dramatically strengthened its already tight regulation of the internet, but officials and local media have used the fourth World Internet Conference to declare Chinese cyberspace is "open" -- but subject to controls for the greater good.
The report unveiled on Monday in the eastern city of Wuzhen by the state-linked Chinese Academy of Cyberspace Studies, said China's digital economy reached 22.58 trillion yuan ($3.4 trillion) in 2016, according to conference organisers.
That figure is second only to the United States and accounts for 30.3 percent of the country's overall economy, the report said. The report assessed global internet development from a number of factors including industry capacity and "governance", China's code word for restrictions.
"China's experience suggests that both factors are crucial to a sound development of the internet that aims to serve the fundamental interests of the people," Xu Yunhong, an official from the academy, told a news conference in Wuzhen.
The three-day conference, which closes Tuesday, was set up to counter western criticism of its internet restrictions, which include blocking Facebook, Twitter and other foreign platforms, and bans on a range of content deemed politically threatening to the Communist Party.
China has cracked down even harder this year, including enacting new rules requiring foreign tech companies to store user data inside the country, imposing fresh content restrictions.
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