Respected Leaders and Guests,
"Info China 2007" co-sponsored by the State Council Informatization Office, Ministry of Information Industry, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Commerce and Advisory Committee for State Informatization is officially inaugurated today. As a flagship event of China's information industry, the conference will surely boost e-commerce development in China in a healthy, fast and lasting way. On behalf of the Ministry of Commerce, I would like to express my sincere congratulations on the opening of the conference.
Today, I would like to speak briefly on "accelerating e-commerce for the development of modern services".
The first point is about the important role of modern services in China's national economy.
At the 16th CPC National Congress, the central government brought forward the scientific outlook on development and called for comprehensive, harmonious and sustainable development. Developing modern services is precisely an effective means to this end in line with the new situation of opening-up.
On March 19, 2007, the State Council issued the Opinions of the State Council on Accelerating the Development of the Services Sector, which clearly indicated that the services sector is an important component of China's economy and set forth the specific goals for services development: by the year 2010, the share of added value generated by services in total GDP should have increased by 3% over that of the year 2005, its share in the total job creation should have risen by 4% over that of 2005, and total services trade volume should have amounted to 400 billion USD.
The second point is about modern services driven by the broad applications of e-commerce.
Modern services represent a relatively information- and knowledge-intensive sector based on modern technology and creative services models. The sector provides high value-added and high-end production and living services. As a typical IT application in economic activities, e-commerce has increasingly become an essential link of modern services development.
(I) E-commerce enhances the competency of the services sector.
E-commerce enlarges the scope of marketing activities for service companies, and contributes to customer relations management. E-commerce enables the service sector to deliver broader services to producers, helping them to gain a better understanding of the supply and demand in the market before production, hence with sufficient information exchange, the producers could reduce production costs and increase productivity.
(II) E-commerce improves service efficiency.
The application of e-commerce can greatly reduce transaction costs and provide better services for customers, so as to improve overall operating efficiency. The application of e-commerce has inborn advantages particularly in traditional service areas such as finance, logistics, tourism and consultation.
(III) E-commerce opens up new service areas.
While continuing to improve service capability in traditional areas, e-commerce is also pioneering in new service areas, which in turn creates more burgeoning business and job opportunities, such as online shopping, online banking, IT support, and the third-party e-commerce service etc. Alibaba, the leader of third-party e-commerce service to small and medium-sized enterprises is helping them save the costs of developing and managing e-commerce platform and providing plenty of information on suppliers, as well as imports and exports of products.
The third point is about the role of the Ministry of Commerce in e-commerce development.
For many years, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has been committed to e-commerce application and development, mainly in the following areas:
(I) On March 6, 2007, MOFCOM issued the Guiding Opinions on Online Trading (Provisional), aimed at improving the external environment for online trading, preventing risks and boosting healthy and progressive development of online trading. Currently, MOFCOM is working together with the National Bureau of Statistics on e-commerce statistics. The first batch of statistics is expected to be officially released before the end of 2007. China's first official index system for e-commerce statistics is under construction.
(II) Since 2003, MOFCOM has been compiling the an nual China Report on E-commerce. The Report, which analyzes macroscopically the status quo of e-commer ce in China and looks into specific areas of e-comm erce application such as foreign trade, domestic di stribution and online retailing, is playing a posit ive role in the development of e-commerce in China.
(III) To roll out e-commerce applications, since 2005, MOFCOM and the Ministry of Education in conju nction with selected universities have been engaged in case and theory study on e-commerce. So far, ove r 200 e-commerce cases have been studied.
(IV) At the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), China Hi-tech Fair and other large-scale exhibitions, MOFCOM actively advances the application of e-commerce. Each year, over 8,000 exhibitors are provided with e-commerce service at the China Import and Export Fair. MOFCOM also encourages and supports Fujian Province to host the Online Fair and Online Investment & Trade Symposium, and encourages Ningbo City to hold the Online Consumer Goods Fair.
(V) With a view to enhancing local and company-level e-commerce applications, MOFCOM has organized several "advanced training courses on e-commerce" for leaders of local commercial departments.
(VI) MOFCOM launched the program of Commercial Information Service in Rural Area. On August 25, 2006, MOFCOM launched the New Rural Business Network with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Information Industry and the State Council Informatization Office. It also held three online fairs for agricultural by-products, with a total transaction value of 4.066 billion RMB.
(VII) MOFCOM has participated actively in international e-commerce exchanges and cooperation and established mechanisms for exchange with 13 countries and regions. Beginning from 2004, MOFCOM has worked with foreign commercial authorities in the launch of nine economic and trade cooperation websites, such as the "Russia-China Economic & Trade Cooperation Website", and "Singapore-China Economic & Trade Cooperation Website". MOFCOM also used information technology to provide comprehensive, updated and authoritative commercial information service to both Chinese and foreign businesses.
MOFCOM was also involved in e-commerce activities by APEC, ASEM, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and other international and regional organizations. It hosted APEC E-commerce Fair, APEC High-Level Symposium on E-commerce and Paperless Trade and the ASEM Conference on E-Commerce in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively.
To conclude, I wish the conference a great success!