(Bloomberg) – China’s embattled technology tycoons gathered at the country’s annual Internet conference to pledge their support for President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” policy and the market-wrecking regulatory attack on the digital sector.
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Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Guo Kaitian, Senior Vice President of Tencent Holdings Ltd Wuzhen September 26-28.
Xiaomi Corp. co-founder Lei Jun said on the same day that technology companies should help bridge the digital divide and empower small and medium-sized businesses, two of Beijing’s long-standing political goals.
The summit takes place as China’s tech giants weather immense regulatory upheaval in everything from online gaming to data ownership to overseas financing. Alibaba and Tencent-backed food delivery giant Meituan and the driver service app Didi Global Inc. are all under investigation.
The technology containment campaign came after Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma reprimanded regulators for suppressing innovation last October, highlighting the importance of not questioning government policies in a public forum.
Eric Jing, Chairman and CEO of Ant Group Co., said on Sunday that the latest set of new guidelines for the Internet is “important and timely, and a reminder for us in the industry not to let the competition distract us, but to get on with the original.” Intention of the Internet. “
He also spoke out in favor of the benefits of blockchain, saying the technology could “provide a solid foundation of trust for working with industry” and called on participants to “contribute to the inclusive and sustainable development of the country”.
Kendra Schaefer, a partner at Beijing consulting firm Trivium China, said Beijing wants all of its big tech companies to “get the message and get on the common affluence boat.”
“China is not interested in developing a large tech ecosystem that replicates Silicon Valley’s flaws, but one that is built on a common purpose,” she said. “This purpose is to serve the growth of China’s digital economy and serve the general population.”
Xi launched China’s annual Internet summit in 2014 with a great deal of noise, and in previous years industry stars like Tim Cook from Apple Inc. and Sundar Pichai from Google flew in to talk to Chinese apparatchiks.
Tight pandemic border controls have limited personal networking opportunities at recent events, with U.S. industry leaders watching China’s economic and social goals via video this year.
Elon Musk of Tesla Inc. praised China’s new regulations to strengthen data management and said in a video message that his company is localizing its China data.
Qualcomm Inc.’s Cristiano Amon praised the speed of China’s 5G rollout and urged US and Chinese companies to work closer together, while Cisco Systems Inc.’s Chuck Robbins spoke about aligning with Xi’s vision of a common cyberspace community for the benefit of all.
A senior official with the Cybersecurity Administration of China, the frontline agency on China’s tech-nology and organizer of the conference, promised in a speech at the summit on Monday that further steps would be taken to contain internet businesses.
Vice Minister Sheng Ronghua identified self-driving vehicles, online health care and smart delivery as problem areas. For example, regulating smart delivery applications could affect Meituan, while Baidu has worked on autonomous driving and Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd. and JD Health International Inc. doing business in the online health sector.
“We want to improve regulations for the shared economy and the platform economy to ensure their healthy growth,” said Sheng. “We also want to set up frameworks for the management of areas in the areas of autonomous driving, online health care and smart delivery.”
Founded in 2011, the once nondescript watchdog – which operates under the chairmanship of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, chaired by Xi – got prominent this year, setting new rules mandating CAC approval for any company that wants to go public abroad if it has more than 1 million users.
The Chinese authorities have also warned of the disorderly expansion of capital in platform economies in recent months and urged Ant to undergo a “correction program” after the surprise halt of what is likely to be the world’s largest IPO.
In the past few weeks, Ant has agreed to share data from its small loan service with Chinaâs central bankâs credit reference center, and is set to create a separate app for its lending business and engage government-sponsored 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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