It's no secret that digital transformation is a priority in China, but does it have enough digital talent? Source: Shutterstock

It’s no secret that digital transformation is a priority in China, but does it have enough digital talent? Source: Shutterstock

Proportion of digital talent across sectors increasing rapidly in China

CHINA has put the pedal to the metal when it comes to digital transformation. That’s apparent from discussions at every level of government and business — with ministers and CXOs focused on going digital.

According to a new report cited by Xinhua News, the official state-run press agency of the People’s Republic of China, a growing number of sectors are using digital technologies to upgrade their operations in China, which is reflected in the rising proportion of digital talent across sectors.

The report, produced by LinkedIn China and Tsinghua SEM Center for Internet Development and Governance (CIDG) suggests that digital talent does not stick to jobs in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector anymore.

Instead, the country’s digital talent pool is actively exploring opportunities in areas such as consumer goods, finance, education, and corporate services.

Although China’s software and IT services sector and its manufacturing sector attract about 20 percent of the country’s digital talent each, the medical and transportation sectors have shown significant year-on-year improvements in terms of the appeal to digital professionals.

Approximately 50 percent of digital talent is distributed in ICT basic industries such as ICT and internet-based companies.

“The continued growth of the digital economy remains primarily dependent upon the digital transformation of traditional industries, and this part of the integrated digital economy has also become the driving force behind China’s economic growth,” CIDG Director Chen Yubo told Xinhua News.

Overall, it’s interesting to see a rapid growth in China’s digital talent pool, indicating a rise in training for a digital future, be it state-sponsored, corporate-led, or even self-motivated.

The enthusiasm of digital talent in the country is a reflection of the opportunities it is creating by spending significant amounts of money on new and emerging technologies.

Artificial intelligence (AI), for example, a key tool in the arsenal of leaders in tomorrow’s digital-first world, is an arena where China is leading spending — across the APAC.

IDC’s latest forecast pointed out that the APAC is on track to spend US$6.2 billion on AI systems this year and China’s spending accounts for more than 71 percent of that figure. In comparison, Australia and Korea only account for 5.1 percent and 5.4 percent of overall spending in the APAC.

The internet of things (IoT), the technology that is expected to transform manufacturing and operations and is one of the cornerstones of Industry 4.0 is also something that China is investing heavily in.

According to IDC, China is the top spender in the region with spending expected to reach US$168.6 billion this year. The country is obviously again a top spender on IoT solutions in the APAC.

The same is the case when it comes to China’s tryst with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology. IDC’s analysts forecasted recently that China will see the largest AR/VR spending totals between 2018 and 2023, followed by the United States. The two countries will account for nearly three-quarters of all spending worldwide by 2023.

All of these investments require simultaneous investments in digital talent — which is reflected in the report that was produced by LinkedIn China and CIDG.

In the coming years, especially between 2020 and 2023 (given IDC’s forecasts), it’ll be incredibly exciting to see the progress of businesses in China with regard to new and emerging technologies. Despite rough waters, it seems as though China’s race to digital leadership on a global scale hasn’t been affected too much.