Chinese premier affirms support for technology sector

Chinese Premier Li Qiang met representatives from tech giants including Alibaba and TikTok’s Chinese counterpart Douyin on Wednesday to “listen” to them, state media reported, after years of turbulence in the sector.

The companies were able to develop within China’s loose regulatory framework but, since 2020, have met resistance from authorities over issues of personal data and practices that have been deemed opaque.

Industry heavyweights have been sentenced to heavy fines, with the crackdown costing billions of dollars in market capitalisation.

The Chinese government is now trying to reassure the sector, with the country facing an economic slowdown and record youth unemployment of more than 20 percent.

Li “listened to the opinions and suggestions” of the sector for a “healthy development” of the digital economy, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Representatives of Alibaba’s cloud computing arm, e-commerce champions and Pinduoduo, and social networks Douyin and Instagram-like Xiaohongshu were among those present.

“I hope many digital companies will firmly believe in the future,” said Li, according to CCTV.

Heavy fines imposed on tech giants Tencent and Ant Group last week were seen as a signal that the crackdown on the sector may be coming to an end.

Fintech giant Ant Group and a Tencent affiliate were fined almost $1 billion and $415 million respectively for various infringements.

“Most of the outstanding problems… have now been rectified”, the regulator said on Friday.


© Agence France-Presse