Xi Jinping urges global tech cooperation as IBM, Intel, Cisco CEOs attend China’s internet conference
- The Chinese leader issued a congratulatory letter to the World Internet Conference, which also saw the debut of the Communist Party’s new propaganda chief
- Several American tech executives have attended this year’s event virtually, including the CEOs of IBM, Intel and Cisco
Hundreds of guests, along with senior government officials and tech business leaders, gathered at an exhibition centre in Wuzhen, the picturesque canal town near Shanghai that has been hosting the event since 2014, to kick off the three-day conference.
“Together, we can build a cyberspace that is more fair, open, safe and energetic,” he wrote.
“Many people of insight have realised that the current global internet management system still follows imperfect rules and an unreasonable order,” Li said in a speech. “The existing cyberspace governance rules are incapable of reflecting the wishes and interests of most countries.”
The concept of a “shared future in cyberspace” was first put forward by Xi in 2015, when he attended the WIC’s opening ceremony in person.
“Since Xi proposed [his idea] at the second WIC, the event has been following up on his thoughts every year,” Wu Hequan, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering from 2002 to 2010, said on the sidelines of the conference.
However, this year’s event takes place against a backdrop of mounting economic troubles and a tightened regulatory environment in China, along with rising geopolitical tensions with the West.
While the conference has in the past drawn big names from the internet industry at home and abroad, its shine has faded in recent years amid a prolonged regulatory crackdown on Big Tech in China.
With China’s strict Covid-19 controls hindering cross-border travel, several American tech executives have attended this year’s event virtually. They include IBM chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna, Intel Corp CEO Pat Gelsinger, and Cisco Systems chairman and CEO Chuck Robbins, all of whom delivered video messages.