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How big is China's digital economy?

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  • Alicia Garcia-Herrero

    () (Adjunct Professor, Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
    Chief Economist for Asia Pacific, NATIXIS
    Institute for Emerging Market Studies , Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

  • Jianwei XU

    () (Associate professor, Beijing Normal University)

Abstract

This paper reviews international measures of the digital economy with those developed by Chinese officials and private sources. Given their lack of comparability, we use China's input and output and census data to come up with an internationally comparable estimate of China's size of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector (the core of digital economy), both in terms of value added and employment. Based on the latest available statistics, our measurements indicate that China's digital economy is not bigger relative to the size of the Chinese economy than the OECD average, especially in terms of ICT employment. This finding, which might look striking based on the current perception of China's digital economy, masks large differences across regions (with Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai ahead of the OECD average).

Suggested Citation

  • Alicia Garcia-Herrero & Jianwei XU, 2018. "How big is China's digital economy?," HKUST IEMS Working Paper Series 2018-56, HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies, revised Jul 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:hku:wpaper:201856
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