Can you imagine employing a robot to cook, mow lawns, take care of the elderly and do other chores? At the first Global Digital Trade Expo in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, exhibits of leading-edge digital technology make visitors believe that such scenes may soon become a part of real life.
The four-day expo, which concluded last week, gathered more than 800 leading digital trade companies from home and abroad to share the latest trends in digital technology and services, and steer cooperation in the digital economy onto a fast track. A total of 37.4 billion yuan ($5.37 billion) worth of tentative deals was reached in the inaugural version of the expo, according to the Zhejiang Provincial Department of Commerce.
The Tesla Bot, a humanoid robot developed by Tesla, was a star at the expo. According to Xie Yun of Tesla, the robot is capable of going up and down stairs, squatting, grasping tiny objects and operating mechanical devices. It can also perform tasks that are considered unsafe and repetitive.
The robot is expected to enter mass production in three to five years, Xie adds.
Similarly eye-catching was a 5G intelligent cockpit, a smart port simulation system now operating at Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, a major port in East China. It enables the virtual testing of intelligent unmanned trucks at a wharf in various scenarios and weather conditions, reducing testing costs and human safety risk.
Meanwhile, the cockpit also allows the supervision of multiple trucks simultaneously by only one person, who can solve problems through remote control as soon as faults and complex situations occur, says Shen Qian, senior marketing manager of Beijing-based Trunk.tech, developer of the cockpit.
A video featuring a remotely controlled unmanned digger also demonstrated the power of digitalization in ensuring safe operation. Developed by the NetEase Fuxi Lab and China Construction Eighth Engineering Division Corp, the digger can operate in an oxygen-deficient environment at — 20 C and 4,000 meters above sea level.
Digital trade has injected new impetus into world economic recovery and global trade growth. According to data released at the expo, China's digital services trade volume reached 1.2 trillion yuan in the first half of this year, up 9.8 percent year-on-year, while the export volume within the overall digital services trade volume rose 13.1 percent to 682.8 billion yuan.
Cambodian longan farmers had been beset by a poor market. Through cooperation at the Electronic World Trade Platform, a project was launched at the expo in Hangzhou to sell Cambodian longan via e-commerce in China. "I wish this eWTP partnership between Cambodia and the Alibaba Group to be fruitful," said Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak at the expo via video.
Beyond trade, digital technology has also played a role in cultural exchanges, displaying great potential for global cooperation in this area.
Li Zhirong, deputy dean of the Institute of Cultural Heritage of Zhejiang University, presented at the expo a special digital archive highlighting cultural relic restoration efforts in Nepal, following a devastating earthquake that struck the country in 2015.
Composed of video clips, high-definition graphics, and 3D point cloud data, the archive, created on-site by the Zhejiang University team, documented the restoration process of the landmark nine-story Basantapur palace complex in the Nepali capital of Kathmandu, especially the traditional Nepali building craft.
"The digital archive embodies cultural exchanges between China and Nepal. I hope it can serve as a shared asset of the two peoples," says Li.