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China, ASEAN discuss Internet infrastructure

Source:   Time:

NANNING, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have proposed building a beefed-up network of Internet infrastructure that would support regional trade and increase their ability to jointly manage cyberspace, among other purposes.

The network, centered around an "information harbor" in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, is being discussed at a two-day forum that opened on Thursday and which forms part of the ongoing China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi's capital.

"China sincerely hopes to join with the ASEAN to cooperate in cyberspace," said Lu Wei, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, formerly known as the State Internet Information Office.

He said the harbor will be an information hub for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the planned network of trade infrastructure mirroring the ancient Silk Road.

"Cooperation cannot exist without information sharing," Lu emphasized, proposing that the two sides accelerate infrastructure construction to "build an information superhighway sharing financial information, clearance data, disaster assessment and precautions."

The infrastructure will include facilities such as 4G networks and public wi-fi. The forthcoming Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will help with its construction.

The network is also intended to help safeguard national security, freedom of speech, and cross-border transactions by increasing international cooperation.

HUGE POTENTIAL FOR COOPERATION

More than 200 people are attending the forum, including representatives of leading Chinese Internet companies like Baidu and Sohu.

In a congratulatory letter sent to the event, senior Communist Party of China leader Liu Yunshan said China will work with the international community to build "a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace and a multilateral, democratic and transparent management system for it."

He said the two-day event would help cement cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.

China boasts over four million websites and 600 million net users, with trade via e-commerce surpassing 10 trillion yuan (1.63 trillion U.S. dollars).

Many Chinese enterprises are also hungry to tap the ASEAN market and the potential of its 200 million Internet users.

On Thursday, internet security firm Qihoo 360 announced plans to ink an agreement with Southeast Asia's Asiasoft to jointly provide security solutions and free anti-virus software for the ASEAN area.

In Indonesia, the mobile application and PC software of China's Baidu.Com Inc has attracted over 20 million users, and its search services had a sound start in Thailand this year, with the engine expected to take a 10-percent market share by the end of the year.

Sohu Chairman Charles C.Y. Zhang said at the forum that Chinese Internet companies, which have relative advantages in telecommunications infrastructure, software, content and applications, are willing to cooperate with ASEAN counterparts.

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