The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology recently joined with China Unicom to advance Xi Jinping’s concept of “Smart Society.” Smart Society is one of three elite Communist Party digital strategies, this one serving as the party’s theoretical end state for national “intelligentization.”

The China Unicom Leading Party Members Group held an enlarged meeting on March 13 to review guidance received during the recent “Two Sessions,” specifically the government work report and a series of important speeches delivered by Xi Jinping during this period. Liu Liehong, Secretary of the Leading Party Members Group and China Unicom Chairman, presided over the meeting and delivered a speech calling on China Unicom to unite more closely around the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core.

China Unicom describes itself as a basic communication enterprise (基础通信企业) supporting the party, government, and military systems (党政军系统).

The Leading Party Members Group meeting analyzed the government work report, including its impact on China Unicom’s “new strategy.” Among the five items highlighted, the first item described Xi Jinping’s elite digital strategies –– Cyber Great Power, Digital China, and Smart Society – and the role they play in achieving the work report’s strategy to increase domestic consumption (内需战略).  This would be mainly achieved through steady investment and increased construction of New Type Infrastructure (NTI), recognizing the multiplication effect of digital technology on economic development.

The second item noted the important role of digitization, networkization, and intelligentization (数字化网络化智能化) in achieving Chinese-Style Modernization. The Industrial Internet (an NTI tier-three subcategory) was specifically highlighted for its role in promoting New Type Industrialization (新型工业化) and the integrated development of the real economy and the digital economy.

Pointing back to China’s Unicom’s support to Xi’s elite digital strategies, China Unicom signed an agreement with The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on March 9th to establish a Smart Society Joint Laboratory (智慧社会联合实验室). Although the Hong Kong university’s view on “Smart Society” is not known, the view of the China Unicom signer, Leading Party Members Group Secretary Liu Liehong, would toe the party line. “Smart Society” is the party’s strategic plan to achieve national “intelligentization” and the top-level design for “New Type Smart Cities.” Like each of the party’s elite digital strategies, it is both transformative and competitive, and crosses party-government-military lines.

Witnessing the signing ceremony, Professor Dong Sun, Hong Kong Secretary for Innovation, Technology, and Industry, said that the China Union-HKUST agreement brings new cooperation on S&T research and key point innovation in areas such as smart cities, artificial intelligence, and computing power [all these NTI sub-categories, projects, and/or systems].