• For diplomat Wang Qun, it is high-time to establish an international code of conduct on cyberspace.

For diplomat Wang Qun, it is high-time to establish an international code of conduct on cyberspace. (Photo : Reuters)

Internet-based businesses were urged to participate in China's Belt and Road initiative by creating a "digital Silk Road" and helping to boost China's and beyond-border countries' traditional industries.

A senior official pointed out that China should expand overseas e-commerce, Internet banking and industrial network, enabling the country to serve over a billion users, as well as businesses and investors along the proposed 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt.

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Ren Xianliang, the Cyberspace Administration of China vice minister, said that this strategy should be undertaken as a supplementary to China's Internet Plus plan, which is aimed at connecting everything to a fast broadband network.

"An Internet economic community could be formed to benefit each country," Ren remarked in an Internet media forum on Friday in Guangdong Province's Zhanjiang.

The vice minister urged Internet firms to partake in the interconnectivity efforts prompted by the initiative. The business' participation includes pouring in investments in boosting the digital Silk Road development and network infrastructure.

Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road initiative in 2013, aiming to establish a trade-and-infrastructure network linking Asia, Europe and Africa. It is a way of reviving the ancient trade hubs in the said regions.

The Belt and Road covers at least 60 countries and areas with a cumulative population of 4.4 billion.

"On the basis of respecting their network sovereignty, history, culture and religious belief, Chinese Internet companies should forge closer links with their counterparts in the countries," Ren enthused.

Ren's appeal to Internet enterprises was the second time for this month that China's top Internet regulator conveyed the same message.

Earlier this July, organization chief Lu Wei said "[the administration is] ready to invest because there are infinite opportunities."

"We can build a digital Silk Road, a Silk Road in cyberspace," Lu added, speaking at the first China-EU digital collaboration meeting in Brussels on July 6.