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Information and communications in the Chinese countryside : a study of three provinces, Volume 1
Author:Minges, Michael; Kimura, Kaoru; Beschorner, Natasha; Davies, Robert; Zhang, Guangqin; Country:China;
Date Stored:2014/04/28Document Date:2014/04/22
Document Type:PublicationSubTopics:Knowledge Economy; Information Security & Privacy; Education for the Knowledge Economy; E-Business; Technology Industry
Major Sector:Information and communicationsRel. Proj ID:CN-Gates - Rural Ict Activity Twict -- -- P121200;
Region:East Asia and PacificReport Number:87600
Sub Sectors:General information and communications sectorCollection Title:A World Bank study
TF No/Name:TF096545-PROJECT EXPENSESVolume No:1

Summary: Improving access to information and communications technology (ICT) and related services in the countryside, or rural informatization, is a long-standing Chinese policy objective. National and provincial governments and China's ICT industry have invested significantly in rural infrastructure and facilities over the past decade with the goal of reducing the country's digital divide. The purpose of this study, undertaken at the request of the Chinese government, is to review this experience and inform future approaches to rural informatization. The study focuses on three provinces with different socioeconomic characteristics: Shandong, Jilin, and Guizhou. The scope of the study included: (a) a demand survey to assess rural ICT access and usage; (b) a review of ICT in primary and secondary schools; (c) a survey of public libraries, including the extent of ICT use in rural libraries; and (d) an assessment of specific ICT interventions to examine how they have affected rural users. Much of the published information about rural ICT development in China describes infrastructure deployment, with top-level target monitoring statistics. This report sheds light on findings at the grassroots level through surveys and interviews, exploring the nature of demand for ICT services from rural populations, and considers whether this demand is being adequately addressed. Though there are differences in infrastructure and access across the three provinces, the structural challenges are similar. The lessons learned are not only consistent across the three provinces but also similar to research findings on rural informatization in other provinces. Thus, they are likely to be relevant for making recommendations about future approaches in other rural areas in China.

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