China to spend $182 billion to boost Internet by end of 2017

China will spend more than $182 billion to boost Internet speeds by the end of 2017, a top government body said, as Beijing moves towards a more service-driven economy to boost growth.

The State Council said the government will invest more than 430 billion yuan ($69.3 billion) this year on network construction, with at least another 700 billion yuan ($112.8 billion) spent over the following two years.

The goal is to accelerate the development of fiber optic broadband and high speed 4G mobile networks, the governing body said on its website.

China ranked 82nd in the world for average Internet connection speed, slower than Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan, according to cloud computing services provider Akamai’s State of the Internet report for the fourth quarter of 2014.

Improving that standing is crucial for the world’s second largest economy, which is experiencing the slowest growth in decades and is seeking to diversify away from low-tech manufacturing and development.

On Tuesday, China unveiled a vision for the next stage of its economic ascent, moving from low-tech manufacturing to advanced industry in areas such as space, e-commerce, green energy and bioengineering by 2025.

Premier Li Keqiang has also already identified the Internet and technology as vital catalysts for the shift towards an economy centered around services.

China’s three state-owned wireless carriers are also on board. Last week, China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd said they would cut mobile data prices and boost data speeds this year, potentially spurring a mass migration of customers to more lucrative 4G contracts.

Text: Reuters Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by  Miral Fahmy  20-05-2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s