Q3/2019 - Brazilian BRICS Presidency
On 6 August 2019, the Chinese branch of the “BRICS Institute for the Future of Networks” was opened up in Shenzhen. The foundation of this institute had been decided by the BRICS Ministers of Communications under the South African presidency in the summer of 2018.
The main task of the institute will be the development of new technologies, including in particular the Internet of Things, the future of mobile communication, Artificial Intelligence, autonomous driving, information security and 5G.
Originally, India had offered to build up this institute. Also discussed was a decentralised structure with branch offices in all five BRICS countries. After India had excluded Huawei and ZTE from establishing India’s 5G network, the Chinese government had taken the initiative and opened the first branch of the new institute in the five BRICS countries. At the opening ceremony, Chinese Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Zhaoxiong Chen, said that the Chinese branch would closely cooperate not only with the other four BRICS countries but also with all other developing countries, especially in the fields of security, Artificial Intelligence and 5G. The opening ceremony was also attended by ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. He highlighted the innovation potential and market power of the five BRICS countries.
The other four BRICS countries have not yet established national branches of the BRICS institute. It also remains to be seen how the exchange and coordination between the individual branches can be organised, provided the branches will be created, and if the branches will be bundled under a joint roof organisation.
On 26 August 2019, Vladimir Norov, the Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which is closely related to BRICS, met with Jack Ma, the still incumbent CEO of the Chinese Internet platform Alibaba. Jack Ma announced that Alibaba was going to contribute to a more dynamic digitalisation within and between the SCO member states. He informed that Alibaba was planning to create 100 million new jobs within the coming years and to support ten million small and medium-size business. Jack Ma pointed to the 800 million young people who lived in the SCO member countries. They provided a huge opportunity for the future of the digital economy. In the coming months, an Alibaba working group, together with the SCO Secretariat, was going to explore how the "Concept of Cooperation in the Field of Digitalisation and Information-Communication Technologies" adopted at the SCO Summit in Bishkek in June 2019 could be implemented.