China will lead the world into a "third industrial revolution" that converges the development of renewable energy and Internet technology, according to American scholar and bestselling author Jeremy Rifkin on Tuesday.
Speaking at a forum organized by Economic Information Daily, Rifkin credited China with enormous reserves of renewable energy, the patience and long-term planning for infrastructure development, and a philosophical tradition based on harmony with nature.
The three assets will help China lead a new energy revolution and China will demonstrate that similar work could be done not only in developed nations, but also highly industrial countries that are still developing, the social theorist said.
Rifkin, president of the Foundation on Economic Trends and author of 19 books, describes the five pillars of the third industrial revolution, a new prospect of global economy and its profound impacts in his 2011 best seller with the same title.
The five pillars are transition to renewable energy; collection of energy by turning every building into a green, micro power plant; storage of energy; transforming the power grid into an energy internet; and transportation powered by new energy.
Last year, Premier Li Keqiang suggested that China's economic planners and government think tank pay close attention to Rifkin's book.
Li Guobin, head of the department of policy and regulation at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at Tuesday's forum that concepts such as intelligent manufacturing, energy Internet and the latest round of communication revolutions are a chance for China to upgrade its economic structure and growth model.
Xu Heping, director of the policy research department in the Ministry of Science and Technology, said China has to lead the third industrial revolution and make sure that new energy, intelligent manufacturing and biotechnology revolutions take place in China.
In setting up regulations and providing supervision for this new trend of development, the central government will have a bigger role to play, according to Rifkin, while Xu added that private enterprises which value research and development will be a key force driving the trend.
Following the forum, lectures on the third industrial revolution will be held in a few Chinese cities until Sept. 23.