The participants embarked on a six-day adventure, starting in the tech hub of Shenzhen
A remarkable international program called “Future Close-Up” took a group of 16 young participants from 14 countries on an immersive journey through China’s digital landscape. The program, held from June 15 to 20, provided a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, scholars, and reporters to gain firsthand experience and understanding of China’s achievements in developing its digital economy.
The participants embarked on a six-day adventure, starting in the tech hub of Shenzhen, followed by a visit to Beijing, where they explored the country’s digital innovations and engaged with some of China’s most popular mobile applications. The program was jointly hosted by China International Communications Group (CICG) and Tencent, one of China’s leading internet technology giants, in collaboration with the CICG Centre for Americans.
The journey began with the young participants being introduced to various Chinese mobile applications, including ride-hailing services, educational platforms, bike-sharing apps, and social media platforms like Weixin (known as WeChat internationally). These apps formed the basis of a friendly competition called “A Digital Day Tour of Beijing,” where the participants raced to complete tasks using the apps and shared their accomplishments on Weixin.
For many participants, this was their first encounter with Chinese apps and the country’s digital ecosystem. The experience left them amazed at the convenience and seamless integration of technology in people’s daily lives in China. The participants were in awe of the multifunctionality of apps like Weixin, which encompasses messaging, social media, and mobile payment services, and noted the continuous upgrades and advancements that mirror China’s rapid digitalization progress.
China’s digital economy and technological advancements were the focus of the program. A report titled “Global Youth Wisdom: Digital Economy Makes the World a Better Place” was released during the program’s closing forum. Based on in-depth interviews with approximately 100 young individuals from different countries, the report highlighted China’s position as the world’s second-largest digital economy, with its digital sector contributing 41 percent to the country’s GDP.
The surveyed young participants, belonging to Generation Z, expressed a deep understanding of the positive impact of the digital economy on personal lives, global economic development, and social progress. They also expressed confidence in the future growth and development of the digital economy. The report emphasized the shared expectations and curiosity among Chinese and foreign youth regarding digital technology and their eagerness to uncover and shape the future.
Throughout the program, participants shared their experiences and insights via social media platforms, connecting with audiences worldwide. Their stories and interactions showcased the vibrant digital ecosystem of China and fostered new connections and collaborations among participants from diverse backgrounds.
The Future Close-Up Program provided a platform for young entrepreneurs and professionals to explore the possibilities of collaboration and gain a deeper understanding of China’s digital economy. The participants visited prominent Chinese companies such as Tencent, Honour, and Ping An, engaging in face-to-face discussions with employees and learning about the latest technological innovations.
Zhang Jun, General Manager of Tencent’s Marketing and Public Relations Department, emphasized the importance of re-establishing communication channels with overseas talents and high-calibre professionals, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program aimed to facilitate meaningful exchanges and forge lasting connections between Chinese and foreign youths, fostering mutual understanding and contributing to global exchanges and cooperation.
Li Yafang, President of the CICG Centre for Americas, highlighted the significance of the program in promoting cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. She expressed her enthusiasm for engaging with young people and encouraged them to provide fresh perspectives in China, injecting new energy into the promotion of exchanges between China and other countries.
The Future Close-Up Program left a lasting impression on the participants, who marveled at China’s digital advancements and the impact of technology on people’s lives. Their journey through China’s digital domain provided insights into the potential of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the metaverse, and virtual reality, offering valuable lessons for the global community.
As the program concluded, the participants expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to connect, learn, and collaborate with their Chinese counterparts. They pledged to build bridges and platforms for communication, mutual trust, and learning, fostering further opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue and cooperation in the future.