Central China’s Henan province, home to the world’s largest iPhone factory , is investing 50 billion yuan (US$7.39 billion) on a digital infrastructure expansion programme that will help move its industries up the value chain, advancing beyond labour-intensive manufacturing activities. Under the 2023 Digital Economy Development Work Plan recently released by the Henan Development and Reform Commission, that programme will focus on fostering the development of digital industries that include advanced computing, cybersecurity , satellite communications, integrated circuits , artificial intelligence , digital platforms and 5G . The initiative comes about three months after the State Council, China’s cabinet, pledged to bolster the country’s digital economy through major new policy commitments. Its move is in line with China’s 14th five-year plan , from 2021 to 2025, which sets out to accelerate the digital transformation of its supply chain , close the gaps in data between different industries and social groups, better use data resources and improve governance of the digital economy. That would see the output of core industries in China’s digital economy account for 10 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2025, up from 7.8 per cent in 2020. The release of Henan’s Digital Economy Development Work Plan also reflects how authorities are keen to quickly move past last year’s chaos that occurred at the iPhone production complex in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital. Protests over Covid-19 measures and employee benefits in November descended into violent clashes between hundreds of workers and security forces at the factory run by Apple supplier Foxconn Technology Group , which had earlier experienced an exodus of tens of thousands of workers from the coronavirus-hit complex. Henan’s digital infrastructure expansion programme aims to increase the number of 5G base stations in the province to more than 180,000 and the number of server computer racks inside data centres to surpass 90,000. These developments are expected to help grow the total number Internet of Things users in Henan to 100 million, equivalent to the province’s current population. It will also roll out more than 1,000 smart charging stations and more than 8,000 public charging facilities by the end of this year, supporting the development of a transport system with more new energy vehicles in use. China’s president outlines vision of digital economy with 5G and data Henan will also create a special government fund to support the development of satellite chips and terminals. The province will also encourage wide adoption of the BeiDou satellite navigation system in emergency management, monitoring of the environment and smart farming. The province will also promote the digital transformation of its manufacturing sector. This would involve building 150 smart factories and 10 provincial-level industrial internet platforms. By the end of this year, revenue from Henan’s electronics manufacturing industry is expected to exceed 800 billion yuan, while the size of its advanced computing and software industries will be more than 50 billion yuan. China puts private sector front and centre in fresh economy-boosting vows Henan’s latest programme follows the lead of several other provinces that have already unveiled similar initiatives related to the digital economy. Central Hubei province, for example, last September unveiled a three-year action plan to double the value of its digital economy to 550 billion yuan by the end of 2024. The electronic information industry in Henan was valued at 500 billion yuan in 2021, according to government data. That lags behind electronic information activities in southern Guangdong province, which recorded revenue of 4.56 trillion yuan in the same period and has led this industry in China for 31 consecutive years. In 2021, the scale of China’s digital economy reached 45.5 trillion yuan and accounted for 39.8 per cent of the country’s GDP , up from 20.9 per cent in 2012, according to a white paper released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology last July.