On November 16, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), along with the Zhejiang government, kicked off the Third Annual World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen. AmCham Shanghai Chair Ker Gibbs attended the opening ceremony that featured a speech, delivered via video, from Chinese President Xi Jinping and a keynote address from Liu Yunshan, a member of the Politburu Standing Committee. Xu Lin, the Minister of the CAC moderated a series of speeches that included Jack Ma, the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba, as well as the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Nokia, among others.
During his brief remarks, President Xi noted that China looks forward to working with the global community to ensure cybersovereignty and that China believes in, and wants, “more fair and equitable” governance of the global internet. China believes, according to President Xi, that the world needs more global coordination and cooperation. Cybersovereignty, China’s belief that governments should be able to control the internet within their borders, was repeated by a number of Chinese government speakers at the event and has been a common theme since President Xi first discussed the idea at the WIC last year.
The theme for this year’s WIC is “Innovation-driven internet development for the benefit of all.” A plenary session followed the opening ceremony and included speeches from 13 business leaders and government officials from around the globe. Notable speakers included Robin Lee, the President and CEO of Baidu and Reid Hoffman, the Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of LinkedIn. A number of other senior executives from domestic and international technology companies are slated to speak at the event’s 20 forums and panels over the next two days. Topics range from China’s “Internet Plus” plans to cyber-terrorism and the “One Belt One Road” initiative and will often focus on what China’s vision for these areas are.