Three takeaways from Lei Jun, Robin Li, Mark Ren at the World Internet Conference

5G, cloud computing, AI, and IoT take center stage at the three-day event.

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More than 1,500 attendees gathered at the Sixth World Internet Conference, also known as the Wuzhen Summit, that opened Sunday in China’s canal town Wuzhen of Zhejiang Province.

They talked about hot topics like 5G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet-of-Things and other cutting-edge technologies.

The three-day annual event was attended by executives from major tech companies such as Microsoft, Xiaomi, Tencent, Qualcomm, Alibaba, and Huawei. Google and Apple, which participated at the conference before, are absent amid the Sino-US trade conflicts, according to the South China Morning Post.

Smartphone maker Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun, search engine giant Baidu’s CEO Robin Li, and gaming and entertainment powerhouse Tencent’s chief operating officer Mark Ren all delivered speeches on the first day. KrASIA collected a summary of their main ideas.

“We will launch more than 10 5G phones in 2020″ – Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun

Xiaomi aims high for the application of 5G technology and revealed its plans to release at least 10 5G phones next year, covering the high, middle, and low-price tiers. In September, Xiaomi unveiled its first 5G-enabled phone Mi 9 Pro in China.

Lei said 5G is becoming the accelerator of digital economy development. He tested the speed of 5G at the conference, where the download speed reached 787 megabits per second (Mbps) and the upload speed topped 70.04 Mbps.

“I worry about that 4G phones won’t sell next year,” said Lei. “And I hope that wireless carriers can speed up to deploy 5G base stations.”

“We are at the era of the AI-driven smart economy” – Baidu CEO Robin Li

Baidu is taking a bigger bet on AI, as its market capitalization has recently been surpassed by up-and-coming rivals Meituan Dianpin, JD.com and NetEase.

Li said the smart economy will be the core engine to back up the economy globally, and would change our society in three aspects: the evolution of human-computer interaction, the transformation of the IT infrastructure and the rise of new business models.

As an AI optimist, Li pointed out that AI would make “human beings immortal” since everything could be digitalized and stored.

“Protecting minors is the lifeline of Tencent” – Tencent COO Mark Ren

After facing some criticism for its major business — online games — which some say is the source of teenagers’ online addiction, Ren said his company has always emphasized the healthy environment of the internet and considered the protection of minors to be the lifeline of the company.

With the mass adoption of smart mobile devices, the internet penetration rate for minors has reached 93.7%, he said. The internet is not only a tool for entertainment but also a critical platform for study and communication.

Beijing has been tightening the regulation on the online gaming industry. China’s top legislature on Monday started reviewing a draft revision to the Law on the Protection of Minors, which highlights new stipulations on cyberspace protection.