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China spending $182 BEEELLION on net construction by end of 2017
The move away from manufacturing base continues
Beijing has announced a $182bn programme of network infrastructure spending, supplementing the development of China's service sector over the next two and half years.
The State Council, China's chief administrative authority, said the government will invest at least $69.3bn in network construction this year, which in turn will be supplemented with $112.8bn in expenditure before the end of 2017, all in order to accelerate the construction of fiber optic networks and 4G networks.
UK government network construction expenditure reached $1.221bn (£780m) in recent years. Or, approximately, $20 a head, while the Chinese investment will cost approximately $132 a head. Government expenditure has been matched by BT in Britain.
The investment is understood to be targeting the development of China's lagging internet speeds, which are often alleged to be suppressed by the Great Firewall, hampering growth in the country's domestic technology industries.
China ranks 62nd in the 2014 World Economic Forum's Network Readiness Index which measures the "propensity for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information and communications technology".
The United Kingdom, in comparison, is ranked 8th.
The state investment follows Li Keqiang, the State Council Premier, announcing China's "Internet Plus" policy, which is intended to see the nation focus on domestic technology adoption in order to boost domestic growth while also giving Chinese technology firms a chance do do better overseas.
Complaining about China's internet speeds previously, Keqiang undershot the Network Readiness Index, instead seemingly favouring Akamai's State of the Internet: Q4 2014 report, stating that "China has more cellphone users than any other country, but its net service speed ranks below 80th in the world due to underdeveloped information infrastructure".
A focus on developing its tertiary sector follows a Communist Party decision to push the nation's economy away from its manufacturing base. The CIA World Factbook estimated Chinese exports to be worth $2.252tn in 2014.
The State Council has said: "By the end of 2017, all households in locations above prefecture level will have access to 100 Mbps fiber optic networks, over 80 per cent of villages will be covered by fiber optic networks, all cities and villages will be covered by 4G networks, and broadband speeds in municipalities and provincial capitals will reach 30 Mbps."
To aid in this development, Beijing is set to gradually allow more private capital to enter the Chinese telecommunications industry, and the State Council claims "over 100 enterprises will provide broadband services by the end of the year". ®