Living in digital China – Does digitalisation make life easier?

Globally, digitalisation has become highly essential in all aspects of life. Today, the People’s Republic of China is one of the world’s most advanced digital  countries and economies. Digital tools such as digital payment methods, digital assistance and services are fundamental in everyday life of an average Chinese citizen. China is a global leader in development and implementation of 5G, E-Commerce, Mega-Apps and Digital Currency.

Insight China, established in 2001, is one of four International Student Projects (ISP) at the FHNW. The project aims to generate major insights into the most important contemporary issues, involving economic, social and political affairs between Switzerland and China. These insights are generated for the project’s partners, the delegation and staff to create an interactive and valuable study programme. During the 21st edition of the Insight China project, the focus lays on how technology and digitalisation impacts  individuals’ daily  livesand how organisations respond to the opportunities and challenges of this rapidly changing environment. More precisely, the project will focus on evaluating how a highly advanced digital nation such as China and a somewhat still developing digital society such as Switzerland  differ from one another. 

The high level of implementation of Big Data as well as Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes China a unique and exceptional leading power in digitalisation and E-Commerce. Users are connected online everywhere, 24 hours, 7 days a week. Many tasks and activities can be done through simple clicks on a mobile phone, supported through various tools to order products and services (Didi, Alibaba, AliExpress) or methods for mobile payments (Alipay). WeChat also offers a wide variety of functions such as an online ordering system, payment and a chatting function all within the same application, which makes WeChat outstanding. These practices and tools enable users in China to be more flexible in their everyday life. Yet acknowledgement of what it means to be available and connected anytime and anywhere is necessary. In China, public facial recognition technology is widely used to enable tracking of people. Online tracking (Social Credit System) of individuals and organizations generate ratings that can have a positive or negative effect on people. These measures impact Chinese citizens in their everyday lives, showing the positive effects of implementing digitalisation also comes with costs.  

The project aims to evaluate how these  digital tools  influence the lifestyle of people in both Switzerland and China and how big the gap between these two countries is. With this year’s topic, Insight China together with experts from Switzerland and China will investigate the rapid technological changes taking place in China and how the Swiss and European companies might react considering the possible effect on their digital supply chains and digital market potential.  

You, as a partner of the Insight China project will have the chance to benefit from updated expertise as well as contribute to this unique student project. We would be honoured to greet you as a partner and create a mutually beneficial platform. We hope to get you on board. Thank you. 

Your Insight China Team 2022