GUIYANG/TOKYO/HONG KONG/PALO ALTO, U.S. -- The mountainous region of Guizhou has long been the poorest of China's 31 provinces, known mostly for producing a few herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine, and maotai, a popular distilled Chinese liquor. Its gross domestic product per capita was $6,233 in 2018, less than one third of Beijing's.
But Guiyang, the provincial capital city of 4.6 million people, has grand ambitions to transform itself into China's newest digital hub. Its goal is neatly summed up by a three-letter Chinese word, dashuju, or "big data," and residents are unlikely to forget it. Dashuju is plastered all over the city: There is the "Plaza of Dashuju," the "Human Resource Center for Dashuju," "Dashuju Park" and even "Dashuju Apartments."