16 Nov 2017

Digital Infrastructure

Overcoming the digital divide in China and the European Union

Felice Simonelli / Shenglin Ben / Romain Bosc / Jinpu Jiao / Wenwei Li / Ruidong Zhang

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This study is the result of collaboration among a group of researchers from CEPS and Zhejiang University (ZJU), who decided to team up and analyse the experience of China and the EU in bridging the digital divide. While acknowledging that both China and Europe have undertaken major efforts to reduce socio-economic and geographical disparities by providing network access to ever more citizens, the authors found that investing in physical access alone is not sufficient to enhance inclusion in the information society. They argue that public authorities should also adopt corollary policies to spur social and economic cohesion through innovations that enable disadvantaged regions to catch up with more developed urban areas. In this context, the report calls upon governments to promote digital innovation and entrepreneurship, foster coordinated efforts and adapt their educational systems to the changing labour market.

The team of researchers was composed of Shenglin Ben of Zhejiang University, CIFI; Romain Bosc of CEPS; Jinpu Jiao of Zhejiang University, CIFI and Shanghai Gold Exchange; Wenwei Li of Zhejiang University, CIFI; Felice Simonelli of CEPS and Ruidong Zhang of Zhejiang University, CIFI.