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ICT key to progress, forum told

NEXT-GENERATION mobile communication networks, cloud computing and the Internet of Things were hot topics yesterday at World Expo's first theme forum held in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province.

More than 600 leaders from government bureaus, research institutions and enterprises attended the ICT and Urban Development Forum focusing on the growing links between the two in society.

A total of 65 speakers from more than 20 countries and regions addressed the forum, including Yu Zhengsheng, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party's Shanghai committee, Jiang Mianheng, vice director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hamadoun Toure, secretary general of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and Wang Jianzhou, chairman of China Mobile.

"Urbanization has been proven to boost ICT development," said Li Yizhong from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"On the other hand, ICT applications have helped people better manage cities and improve daily life, such as in transportation, education and industry sectors."

China is home to more than 700 million mobile handset users and 400 million Netizens, numbers that exceed the whole US population, according to the ministry.

The Internet has played an important role in urban development in health care, transportation, education, government services and business opportunities, said Robert Kahn, chairman and chief executive of the Corporation for National Research Initiatives.

The close link between information technology development and new technologies like cloud computing and the Internet of Things causes a convergence between ICT and industrial development, said the science academy's Jiang.

But new problems have appeared with ICT development, such as digital gaps and cyber crime, some speakers warned.

China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile carrier, is testing 4G technology in Shanghai and is expected to start further commercial trials in three other cities.

"It's great to see China develop its own 4G technology standard (TD-LTE) and it has been accepted by ITU," said Toure.

It's probably the first time a developing country has issued a next-generation telecommunications standard, an initiative which brings balance and growth to the global telecommunications market, according to the ITU.

"The theme forums, along with exhibitions and art performances, are the three major aspects of Expo affecting the public," Shanghai Party Secretary Yu said.

The forum closes today.


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