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Experts said the new wave of technology advancement would create fresh opportunities for China"s service outsourcing providers to transform and adapt themselves to the digital era.
The words came as concerns arose over whether the advent of automation and artificial intelligence will render obsolete the outsourcing business. Outsourcing is a business practice where a company hires another company to perform tasks.
Admitting challenges ahead, Fang Aiqing, a former vice-minister of commerce, said burgeoning technologies can provide conveniences for outsourcing companies to digitize their services, and urged Chinese players to seize and maximize opportunities.?
"A host of innovative breakthroughs, such as the internet, big data, cloud computing and AI, offers new technological tools for service outsourcing providers to upgrade their operations," Fang said.
"Thanks to cutting-edge technologies, what couldn‘t be traded in the past becomes tradable, and one can outsource their services without leaving the house. The service outsourcing industry is moving toward a knowledgeable, digital and innovative economy."
Fang was speaking at 2018 Global Service Outsourcing Summit in Zhuhai, South China‘s Guangdong province. The summit, themed "Open Collaboration, Interconnected Sharing", was Friday and Saturday.
During the conference, business representatives reached 300 million yuan ($46.85 million) in contracts on seven projects, which mainly cover chip research and design, financial technology innovation and big data construction.?
Last year, China"s service outsourcing industry"s combined contracts climbed by 26.8 percent year-on-year to 1.2 trillion yuan, a record.?
New technologies also pose potential threats to the industry. Findings from US-based research and advisory firm Gartner show that by 2018, 40 percent of outsourced services would leverage smart machines, "rendering the offshore model obsolete for competitive advantage."
Li Jun, a researcher in service trade at Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said technologies would not dampen all demand of outsourced services in the future.
"What might disappear is the part that can be replaced by automation technology, but new demand would be generated at the same time", Li said. "In the digital era, service outsourcing providers need to adapt themselves to the environment and ramp efforts to further transform and upgrade."
Chen Jiang, general manager of telecommunication service provider LiveCom Ltd, said Chinese service outsourcing providers have advantages in both quality technology solutions and lower costs, compared with some foreign competitors.?
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