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Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. CEO Daniel Zhang and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Senior Vice President Guo Kaitian on Sunday expressed support for Xi’s flagship goal of closing the country’s wealth gap, during the World Internet Conference held in the seaside resort. de Wuzhen from September 26 to 28.
Xiaomi Corp. co-founder Lei Jun said the same day that tech companies should help bridge the digital divide and boost small and medium-sized businesses, two of Beijing’s long-standing political goals.
The summit comes as China’s tech giants undergo immense regulatory upheaval on everything from online gaming to data ownership and overseas funding. Meituan, the food delivery giant backed by Alibaba and Tencent, and ridesharing app Didi Global Inc. are all under investigation.
The campaign to curb the technology came after Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma berated regulators for stifling innovation last October, illustrating the importance of not questioning government policy during a public forum.
Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Group Co., said on Sunday that the recent round of new policy guidelines for the Internet were “important and timely, and a reminder for us in the industry not to be distracted by the competition. , but to revert to the original intention of the Internet instead.
He also espoused the benefits of blockchain, saying the technology “can provide a solid foundation of trust for industrial collaboration” and called on participants to “contribute to the inclusive and sustainable development of the country”.
Kendra Schaefer, partner at Beijing-based consultancy Trivium China, said Beijing wants all of its big tech companies “to get the message and get on the common prosperity boat.”
“China is not interested in developing a large tech ecosystem that replicates what it sees as the failures of Silicon Valley, but rather an ecosystem built around a common goal,” she said. “This goal is to serve the growth of China’s digital economy and to serve the general population. “
Xi launched the annual China Internet Summit in 2014 with great fanfare, and in previous years, industry stars such as Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai have flown with Chinese apparatchiks.
Strict pandemic border controls have limited in-person networking opportunities at recent events, with U.S. industry executives paying attention to China’s economic and social goals via video this year.
Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk praised China’s new regulations to strengthen data management, saying in a video message that his company is locating its Chinese data.
Cristiano Amon of Qualcomm Inc. praised the rapid rollout of 5G in China and urged US and Chinese companies to collaborate more, while Chuck Robbins of Cisco Systems Inc. spoke about aligning with Xi’s vision. ‘a shared cyberspace community for the benefit of all.
A senior official with China’s Cybersecurity Administration, the agency at the forefront of China’s technological crackdown and conference organizer, vowed to take further steps to curb internet companies in a speech at the summit on Monday. .
Vice Minister Sheng Ronghua cited autonomous vehicles, online health care and smart delivery as areas of concern. The regulation of smart delivery apps could impact Meituan, for example, while Baidu has been working on autonomous driving and Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd. and JD Health International Inc. do business in the online health industry.
“We are looking to improve the regulations on the shared economy and the platform economy to preserve their healthy growth,” Sheng said. “We are also looking to put in place frameworks for managing the areas of autonomous driving, e-health care and smart delivery. “
Founded in 2011, the once low-key watchdog – which operates under the Central Commission for Cyberspace Affairs chaired by Xi – rose to prominence this year, establishing new rules that require CAC approval for any business that wishes to go public abroad, if it has more than one million users.
Chinese authorities have also warned in recent months against the disorderly expansion of capital in platform economies and have asked Ant to submit to a program of “rectification” after the surprise end of what was to be. the largest IPO in the world.
In recent weeks, Ant has agreed to share data from its small loans department with the Chinese central bank’s credit reference center, and is reportedly in the process of creating a separate app for its lending business and attracting state-backed investors.
(Updates with expert commentary in the eighth and ninth paragraphs and new quotes from a senior cyberspace official after the 14th paragraph.)
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