This space, “Get the Word Out on Digital China,” will be all about Western businesses talking about Digital China to PRC media. Yep, it happens. And more than you might think. So this won’t be the last post.

I won’t be judgmental. In fact, I’ll start with my three basic principles on Western business interaction with Digital China: (1) Business in China is a tough endeavor right now, and there’s lots of folks trying to do the right thing; (2) Technology ecosystems tend to be a highly integrated mixture and this poses security challenges we don’t have an answer to yet, and (3) It’s not as if we have really gotten the word out on Digital China. Who knew and who knows now? Not many.

All of this said, Accenture appears in the “Testimony – Opportunities in China” column on Page 3 of People’s Daily, the Party mouthpiece, on April 5th. It’s a prestigious position, particularly in a paper where order and placement matters. You’ll understand in a second why it earned that position.

Let me start by saying I don’t see Western businesses in PRC media saying that they seek to help China become a Cyber Great Power or a Maritime Great Power. Digital China falls into the same general class of Party initiatives and national-level strategies, but almost no one knows it. It sounds more like a meme of some kind – digital China with a small “d”. Pretty useful for Beijing as it turns out.

But back to People’s Daily on April 5th. The said article is five paragraphs long, and I won’t translate it all here. It’s not necessary. It’s a standard pitch. If you read Chinese business news, you see the same sort of thing all the time. I will say though that the Accenture interview demonstrates a very strong grasp of Chinese technology policy and the narrative that supports it. If you are doing business in China, that’s as it should be. And it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone has given you the scoop on Digital China. In this light, here are the parts of the article that we need to think about, all of us.

The title of the piece is “Helping Digital China Innovate With Professional Services.” Title caught my eye.

And this single sentence in paragraph three that quotes Accenture (and I’m assuming of course that the quote is accurate): “The Chinese government attaches great importance to digital transformation and development, and has made a series of major decisions and deployments, such as the “14th Five-Year Plan for Digital Economy Development.” Accenture is very optimistic about the construction of Digital China and will assist China’s digital innovation with professional services.”

中国政府高度重视数字化转型发展,作出一系列重大决策部署,如出台《“十四五”数字经济发展规划》等。埃森哲非常看好数字中国建设,将以专业服务助力中国数字创新。”

Let me wrap this up by just asking everyone to get the word out. Digital China is not just a meme. A year ago I could have made the same mistake.