The third annual World Internet Conference (WIC), held between Nov 16 and 18, saw tech firm bosses, academics, and government officials gather together in Wuzhen, Zhejiang to discuss the future of the digital economy.
Heads of some of China’s biggest tech companies gave speeches, sharing their understanding of the event’s theme – “Innovation-driven Internet Development for the Benefit of All – Building a Community of Common Future in Cyberspace”.
Jack Ma: The next three decades belong to people who can “make good use of internet technology”.
Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said that the next three decades will not only be dominated by internet companies, but also by enterprises, countries and young people who can “make good use of internet technology.”
In order to better use web technology, Alibaba is making constant innovations. During the conference, Alibaba’s financial arm, Ant Financial, demonstrated its “VR Pay” and “Smile to Pay” technologies. *Transactions can be completed by users of the Alipay app by just touching the screen, gazing, nodding or giving a voice confirmation while wearing VR glasses, according to China International Radio.
As for “Smile to Pay”, registered users can complete transactions by simply having their face scanned by a computer screen at the *cashier’s desk, with no inputting a PIN or opening an app required.
Robin Li: The era of mobile internet has ended and AI is the new opportunity.
Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu, said it is no longer possible for a *unicorn to appear in the mobile internet market.
“The era of AI will bring great changes, which means we need to re-imagine everything, every industry and every market,” he said.
Based on AI technology, the internet giant’s latest development is Baidu Brain, an artificial intelligence-enabled project that seeks to vastly improve computing tasks by mimicking the way the human brain operates. Baidu is also developing driverless cars, which can analyze traffic flow and control their *maneuvers automatically, Cao Haitao of Baidu’s artificial intelligence unit told Xinhua.
Pony Ma: Internet companies should further cultivate the Chinese market.
Pony Ma, chairman and CEO of Tencent, said that the Chinese market is large and deep enough for internet companies to focus on and he’s confident that Chinese companies are competitive players in the international mobile internet market.
Tencent also revealed that it’s developing new products, including FACE-IT, a facial-recognition program that the company showed off during the conference. It can accurately recognize people’s facial expressions even if they are moving, reported Sohu, and may even be used in “smart cities” in the future.