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Wuzhen Report on World Internet Development 2016 released

(wuzhenwic.org) Updated : 2016-11-18

The Wuzhen Report on World Internet Development 2016, having been adopted by the high-level advisory committee for the World Internet Conference's (WIC) organizing committee secretariat, was released in both Chinese and English on Nov 18, 2016. 

The third World Internet Conference, with a theme of "Innovation-driven Internet Development for the Benefit of All – Building a Community of Common Future in Cyberspace", took place in Wuzhen, Tongxiang of Zhejiang province from Nov 16 to 18. 

President Xi Jinping made an important video speech to the conference and Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, attended in person and delivered an address. Some 1,600 people from more than 110 countries and regions and 16 international organizations gathered in Wuzhen to discuss the future of the Internet industry.

Here is the full text of the report.

Wuzhen Report on World Internet Development 2016




I. The Internet is more accessible, helping bridge the digital divide.

II. Culture diversity on Internet thrives, and communication and exchanges continue to deepen.

III. The digital economy continues to expand, all parties share digital dividends.

IV. Cybersecurity has emerged as a major challenge and the international community actively responds to it.

V. International governance of the cyberspace makes progress, new developments are expected.

Looking ahead   


Currently, mankind has entered the era of information revolution. Information technologies represented by the Internet have advanced rapidly, giving rise to new changes in means and methods of production, creating new space for humans, expanding governance into new areas and tremendously improving the human ability to explore and change the world. Thanks to the Internet, the world has become more plentiful and life more colorful. People from all over the world share a common desire to foster a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace, in order to maximize the Internet's benefits to humanity and the world.

The 2nd World Internet Conference (Wuzhen Summit) was held in Wuzhen, China on Dec.16-18, 2015. The Conference got together over 2,000 government representatives, international organization officials, leading Internet entrepreneurs, scholars and experts from over 120 countries and regions to discuss avenues and paths of the global Internet development. In his keynote address at the opening ceremony, President Xi Jinping proposed four principles to promote the transformation of the global Internet governance system, and five proposals to jointly build a community of common destiny in cyberspace. More than 500 distinguished guests, including Pakistani President Hussain, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Massimov, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sariyev, Tajikistan's Prime Minister Rasulzoda, Uzbekistan's First Deputy Prime Minister Azimov, UN Under-Secretary-General Wu Hongbo, and ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, shared their perspectives on building, development and governance of the global Internet. The Wuzhen Summit has also inaugurated the High-Level Advisory Council of the World Internet Conference Organizing Committee. The WIC Organizing Committee proposed the Wuzhen Initiative, which called on the international community, among other things, to promote advancement and accessibility of the Internet, foster diverse and conducive cultural development, boost a further expansion of the digital economy and share digital dividends, and ensure secure cyberspace and improve its global governance.

In the past year, the Wuzhen Initiative has earned worldwide recognition. The expansion of the Internet infrastructure has progressed significantly, the digital economy is booming, and cross-country cultural exchanges and communication through the Internet benefited many. It would be fair to say that while undergoing the changes, the Internet changes the world. Artificial intelligence, e-commerce, the Internet of Things, Big Data, mobile communication and other emerging technologies have developed rapidly and become ubiquitous. Online finance, the sharing economy and Industry 4.0 formed drivers for many nations' economic development. As the most powerful information platform in history, the Internet has played a significant role in pooling together human wisdom, resources and capabilities and making them globally available.

With all the positive developments, however, the digital divide has widened in different areas, including the availability of the information infrastructures and the ability to employ digital technologies in everyday life. With much information accessible online, large-scale data leaks are causing many concerns. With powerful devices and broadband and mobile Internet available at record-low fees, cyberattacks against public and corporate infrastructure are on the rise and privacy of all and of the young generation remains exposed to numerous online threats. New types of cybercrime and cyberterrorism become more challenging and sophisticated. Those are the signs of the world still experiencing unbalanced development, and incomplete rules and order. The Internet's development and governance is still facing a number of complex and grave challenges.

The international community has undertaken collectively a number of important coordinated and concerted efforts. The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) has completed its "WSIS+10" review, entering a new stage of development. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has entered its second 10-year term. The G20 Hangzhou Summit put forward the G20 Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Initiative. The UN Group of Governmental Experts on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security (UNGGE) decided that state sovereignty and international norms and principles that flow from sovereignty apply to the conduct by States of ICT-related activities and to their jurisdiction over ICT infrastructure within their territory. The IANA function stewardship transition process was completed successfully, heralding further progress in ICANN's reform. All these factors have contributed to the joint efforts to ensure a greater stability and predictability of cyberspace for all parties, and to the global process of building a community of common destiny in cyberspace by all the countries.

I. The Internet is more accessible, helping bridge the digital divide.

The Internet infrastructure has expanded notably. Many countries boost up construction of the Internet infrastructure, and currently 95% of the global population resides in areas covered by mobile-cellular network. It is estimated that by the end of 2016, the World will see 884m fixed broadband users and 3.6b mobile broadband users. In developed and developing countries, 75% and 50% of users respectively enjoy a bandwidth of no lower than 10Mbps. By the end of 2015, most developed countries and as many as 83 developing countries, and 5 of the least developed countries had met the target of "making broadband affordable" set by the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development. IPv6 has increased by around 100% over the past 12 months, poising to be a key enabler for future infrastructure expansion.

The information and communications technology (ICT) sector maintained penchant for innovation. ICTs continued to be the technology sector with the greatest concentration of investment in R&D, the most vigorous innovation, the most extensive application and the largest positive spillover effects. In 2015, within the framework of the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), computer engineering, digital communication and electronic machinery were the top three categories of patent application. In the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) list of the "10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2016", six were related to ICTs. 

Industries such as cloud computing, big data and also the Internet of Things expanded rapidly. The global market for cloud computing is expected to grow 22% annually between 2016 and 2020, and that of big data would expand from US$140b in 2015 to US$1.03t in 2020. Behind the rise of this new market there have been concepts like "Industry 4.0", "Industrial Internet", the demand for in-depth exploration and professional analysis of massive data sets, as well as huge increases in computing power. The cumulative effect from massive employment of cloud computing, Big Data, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things has been seen across all the sectors. For example, Smart Cities are becoming a reality, with China, India, Republic of Korea, Singapore, the United States and other nations all unveiling plans and projects in this area.

Tangible progress was made in bridging the digital divide. The number of Internet users worldwide continues to grow, increasing from 3.2b in 2015 to 3.5b in 2016; the average worldwide Internet penetration hits a 47.1% mark. However, more than half of the global population has been left out from the Internet. While developed nations enjoy a penetration rate well over 80%, the least developed combined have only 270m Internet users, with the penetration rate of a meager 23.5%. The BRICS Summit in Goa deemed it necessary to take multi-dimensional and inclusive measures to tackle the digital and technological divide between developed countries and developing countries.

II. Culture diversity on Internet thrives, and communication and exchanges continue to deepen. 

International organizations actively promoted cultural diversity online. The UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stressed the important role of ICTs in protecting cultural innovation and cultural diversity. In its resolution based on the 10-year review, the WSIS explicitly emphasized that digital technology should help protect and document cultural heritage. The G20 Digital Economy Development and Cooperation Initiative launched at the G20 Hangzhou Summit hold that cyberspace should facilitate the thriving of culture and recognized the imperative nature of fundamentals of multilingualism. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) included the task of raising the young generation's awareness of global issues and their attitude toward cultural diversity and cultural tolerance into the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). 

The compatibility for different languages on the Internet allows for more cultural content. In cyberspace, digitized human culture continues thriving and shows a diversified development trend. In July 2016, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger in a bid to promote the development of contents of different languages on the Internet. Internet applications featuring the support of over 300 languages support have been developed. The inclusive nature of the Internet allows for deepened inheritance of cultural achievements. The development of International Domain Names (IDN) showed remarkable progress. With additional strings from Bulgaria and India, Fifty-three IDN strings applied by 39 countries/territories, passed through ICANN's IDN ccTLD string evaluation; Of these, 43 are delegated in the root zone.

Mobile social media platforms provide convenience of exchanges for diverse cultural communities. Mobile social media platforms play an increasingly important role in promoting cultural diversity. In 2016, the number of mobile social media users reached 2.44b. Mobile social media platforms have become a main venue for online social interactions. Empowered by the artificial intelligence, speech recognition, translation software and other applications unleash a previously unseen potential for collective thought and action cross cultural exchange.

III. The digital economy continues to expand, all parties share digital dividends.

●Many countries and regions accelerate advancement of the digital economy. The world economy is accelerating its shift toward economic activities grounded in the networked ICT industry. Innovative ICT enterprises and Internet startups create ingenious business models in eCommerce, Fintech, Online Media, and Digital Transportation etc. From 2015, the European Union (EU) has promoted the EU digital single market construction. In 2016, the G20 Hangzhou Summit announced that the digital economy will be an increasingly important driving force for global economic growth; and the OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy confirmed four key policy areas of the digital agenda.

E-commerce is booming. The Internet promotes cross-border trade in goods and services, and enables more and more private consumers and enterprises to overcome jurisdictional boundaries. It is forecasted that in 2016, the global e-commerce retail market value will reach US$1.9t, with the European e-commerce market value accounting for 0.51t euros, and China’s online retail sales hitting a US$0.8t mark.

Shared digital dividends form an important element of the global sustainable development process. The Internet, through eliminating information barriers and optimizing allocation of production factors, has reduced information and transaction costs and emerged as a major driving force in attaining the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals. The dividends have become increasingly available to all, including people from rural areas, poor families and the disadvantaged.

IV. Cybersecurity has emerged as a major challenge and the international community actively responds to it.

Many countries and territories have strengthened cyber security strategic design. In 2016, many countries and territories published or updated their cyber security strategies. They issued rules and laws, set up specific agencies, improved working mechanisms, pushed forward cyber security awareness campaigns and education, fostered cyber security culture and strengthened capacity building and international cooperation.

The protection of critical ICT infrastructure and data has come to the focus of the international community's attention. Governments have put the protection of the critical ICT infrastructure on top of their national security priority list. They published related policies and standards, and launched special operations in an effort to step up their critical infrastructure protection. All parties have paid high attention to developing data protection standards, exploring regulations of trans-border data flow and sharing best practices.

The international community has pro-actively responded to cybercrime and cyberterrorism. Cybercrime and cyberterrorism have been recognized as a grave challenge to the global peace and security. Many governments, through international judicial and security cooperation mechanisms, are now committed to an effective combat against cybercrime and cyberterrorism, keen to ensure that technology, communication and resources are not used for criminal or terrorist purposes, and eradication of possibilities for spreading terrorism and extremist ideology in cyberspace. A significant progress has been made in establishing the framework for a bilateral and multilateral cooperation in combat against cybercrime. 

V. International governance of the cyberspace makes progress, new developments are expected.

●The international dialogue on rules for cyberspace broadened. The first meeting of Fifth UNGGE focused on norms of state behavior in cyberspace, and the application of international law to the use of ICTs, and confidence building measures, thereby signaling a promising start. The Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) delivered the "Tashkent Declaration," which also agreed to formulate standards, principles and rules governing responsible state behaviors in cyberspace under the UN framework. Many international bodies and mechanism including G20, OECD, BRICS, and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) also developed cooperation to ensure the cyberspace stability together. 

The international community promoted the improvement of Internet governance systems. More countries emphasized the need to respect the right of states to equal participation in the global Internet governance process and pleaded to build a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative Internet governance order based on the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in others states' internal affairs. In 2016, the WSIS and the IGF launched their new 10-year program supporting inclusive and sustainable development as the governance theme. The G20 Hangzhou Summit stated that Internet governance should abide by the principles declared by the WSIS, which encourage governments, private sector, civil society, technology groups, academia and international organizations to fully and actively participate in Internet governance according to their respective roles and responsibilities. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Economic Forum (WEF) and other international platforms have continuously addressed Internet development and governance. After the transition of the IANA function stewardship, further internationalization of ICANN is expected by all parties.

The international community makes consistent efforts in protecting children and youth online. The international community deems the challenge of mitigation of negative impacts of harmful information on children and the youth as one of the gravest ones. Many nations have taken a bold action in this regard, including development of action plans, encouragement of cross-community participation, and established channels for an effective information exchange and carried on collaborative efforts to effectively crack down on online child pornography and bullying. During the second WePROTECT Children Online Summit, 41 representatives of countries signed a joint action statement. 

Looking ahead

The 3rd World Internet Conference with the focus on the overarching theme "Innovation- driven Internet Development for the Benefit of All- Building a Community of Common Future in Cyberspace" was held on 16-18 November 2016 in the town of Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province, China. President Xi Jinping addressed the gathering via video, and Mr. Liu Yunshan, Member of Standing Committee of Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, delivered a keynote presentation at the opening ceremony. Over 1600 representatives from more than 110 countries and territories, and 16 international organizationshad a chance for extensiveand unrestricted discussions on Internet development prospects. Taking stock of fruitful debates, we, the HAC Members, suggest that the global Internet development and the Internet governance process will feature the following trends:

1. Developing countries will maintain an impressive momentum. While digital dividends are increasingly available to everyone, the digital divide is still an issue that deserves and has attracted much attention, thereby helping fulfill the goals set in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

2. Cultural exchanges in cyberspace are becoming more frequent, the Internet culture will increasingly thrive, and there will be more understanding and respect for cultural diversity.

3. Many countries will continue to pay high attention to cybersecurity and to make generally accepted international Internet rules on the basis of respecting national sovereignty in cyberspace, while recognizing the need for cooperation and agreement based on the UN Charter and international law and fundamental principles of international relations and international cyberspace matters. International norms and regulations will become the common aspiration of international society.

4. Multilateral and multi-parties participation will become the norm for Internet governance. Governments, international organizations, Internet companies, technology communities, civil organizations, academia, and individuals will all take positive actions to safeguard and promote deepening pragmatic cooperation on building the Internet shared and governed by all, and together contribute to its sustainable development.

5. The international communication and cooperation on cybersecurity and Internet governance will become one of the most popular topics worldwide. More international organizations and mechanisms will play different roles in promoting global Internet development and governance.

The Internet has arisen as a common homeland for the humankind and we hope that the international community's natural strive for collaboration in the unique exercise ofbuilding a community of common destiny in cyberspace. That requires enhanced communication, strengthened international cooperation, promotion of creativity and innovation, joint efforts to bolster the Internet infrastructure and improve connectivity, fostering cultural exchanges on the Internet, a new degree of  openness and development of  the digital economy, maintaining peace and progress in the cyberspace, building an equitable and sound Internet governance system and driving connectivity, sharing and common governance in the cyberspace, will make the Internet benefit the entire world, and create new developments for the future of human beings.