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China looks to Business School for insights into big data

06 Nov 2017

China, which sees big data as a driving force behind future innovation and economic development, has turned the University of Sydney Business School for insights into its collection and analysis.

A delegation from China’s National Bureau of Statistics was recently briefed by the Business School’s leading researchers in the field.

“Our discussions was an opportunity for us to gain insights into China’s current data collection and gave us an opportunity to showcase our analysis of Chinese data,” said Marketing Professor Vince Mitchell.

“Of course, in an era of big data, almost any data from China is big and we would expect it will have a significant impact on the development of the Chinese economy and the global economy,” Professor Mitchell said.

The Chinese delegation was led by the head of data collection at the National Bureau of Statistics, Mr. Jiang Yuan. 

The University of Sydney was represented in the discussions by the Business School’s Professor Hans Hendrischke and Senior Lecturer Steven Lu and by Professor Luigi Tomba of the Centre of Chinese Studies.

The Chinese government is now urging local economic and business officials, directors of various research bodies and tech entrepreneurs to support its “big data strategy” which is an important element in the nation’s current five year development plan.

“We need to speed up building China into a strong country with advanced manufacturing, pushing for deep integration between the real economy and advanced technologies including internet, big data, and artificial intelligence.” President Xi Jinping recently told the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

China hopes to have a big data industry, including related goods and services, worth more than US$144 billion in revenue by 2020.

While big data could be a key ingredient in the future economic success of nations around the world, some commentators are also concerned about the way that governments and large corporations use of it for social and political purposes.

“With the help of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence, the Chinese leadership is thoroughly reshaping its approach to economic and social governance,” said one media analyst.