Machines in a Chinese factory. Photo: China News Agency

China is going to speed up the development of its innovative technology sector with new investments in a series of infrastructure projects, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

In a meeting held on Monday, the NDRC provided a clearer definition of the “new infrastructure” that will be included in these expanded investment plans for 2020.

China will invest in information, integration and innovation infrastructure projects and promote technologies related to 5G, Internet of Things, satellite internet, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, blockchain, data centers and smart computing centers, the NDRC said.

China will continue to support scientific research related to these technologies, which will be applied in the country’s energy, transport and industrial sectors, it added.

Last Friday, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Committee called for strengthening investment in traditional and new infrastructure. Total infrastructure investment in China would reach between 22 trillion and 26 trillion yuan (US$3.11 trillion and US$3.67 trillion) in 2020, analysts said.

5G in Shanghai

The China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Lingang District Special Area Administration will speed up the development of the 5G network in Lingang over the next five years, according to a development plan released by the Shanghai government on Monday.

The administration will set up more than 3,900 5G base stations in Lingang by 2025. In the first stage between 2020 and 2022, the proposed 5G network will cover major urban areas, industrial parks and university campuses in the district, while the number of cloud computing data center racks and Internet of Things terminal connections will reach 50,000 and 40,000, respectively.

In the second stage, between 2023 and 2025, the 5G network will cover all areas in the district while and the number of cloud computing data center racks and Internet of Things terminal connections will increase to 90,000 and 100,000, respectively.

Central bank bills swap

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, conducted the fourth central bank bills swap (CBS) operation this year on Tuesday to improve the liquidity of perpetual bonds issued by commercial banks.

The CBS, valued at 5 billion yuan ($707 million), are open to primary dealers for bidding at a fixed rate of 0.1 %. The swap will be due on July 21, 2020. The central bank skipped reverse repos on Tuesday, citing reasonably sufficient liquidity in the money market.

The CBS scheme allows dealers to swap the perpetual bonds they hold for central bank bills, which will effectively boost market demand for perpetual bonds but have a neutral impact on liquidity in the banking system.

Local government bonds

The Chinese government has mulled allocating an additional quota of 1 trillion yuan in advance for the issuance of local government special bonds.

Wang Kebing, an inspector of the Budget Department of the Ministry of Finance, said in a media briefing that the ministry would work to conclude the bond issuance by the end of May in a bid to shore up the economy.

The value of new local government bonds issued nationwide had totaled 1.57 trillion yuan as of April 15, accounting for 85% of the quota allocated ahead of schedule.

Infrastructure construction has gathered pace across China as the government ramped up funding to spur investment in the sector.

Company news

Pinduoduo Inc, a Chinese e-commerce platform, said it would subscribe to the $200 million convertible bonds issued by the Hong Kong-listed Gome Retail Holdings Ltd.

The convertible bonds will have a coupon rate of 5% per annum and a tenure of three years, with an option to extend by two years at the election of Pinduoduo, according to a statement by Gome. The CBs are convertible at HK$1.215 (15.67 US cents) per share, which works out to approximately 1.28 billion GOME shares or approximately 5.6% on a fully diluted basis.

KFC announced on Monday a public test of chicken nuggets made with artificial meat, which consists mainly soybean, wheat and pea proteins, in China.

Between April 28 and 30, customers can buy five nuggets for 1.99 yuan at specified KFC restaurants in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Alibaba Cloud Computing Co Ltd said it would invest 200 billion yuan in the research and development of core technologies such as cloud operating system, servers, chips and networks within three years.

The company said the investment will further expand the scale of Aliyun’s data centers and servers. Zhang Jianfeng, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, said that cloud intelligence was one of Alibaba’s core strategies, which would not be affected by the novel coronavirus.

China Mobile said it had recently completed the opening of three 5G base stations at the 5,300-meter Everest base camp and the 5,800-meter transition camp.

It is expected to complete the construction and opening of two 5G base stations at the 6,500-meter forward camp and all points by April 25. By then, China Mobile’s 5G signal will reach the summit of Everest.

The story was written by Wang Xiaohan and Xu Jiangshan and first published at ATimesCN.com. It was translated into English by Nadeem Xu.

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