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From the Editor's Desk

Why is China smashing its tech industry?

Maybe because what countries think of as a "tech industry" isn't always the same.

Those who pay attention to business news have probably noted an interesting and curious phenomenon over the past few months: China is smashing its internet companies. It started - or at least, most people in the U.S. started noticing it - when the government effectively canceled the IPO of Ant Financial, then dismantled the company. Jack Ma, the founder of Ant and of e-commerce giant Alibaba, was summoned to a meeting with the government and then disappeared for weeks. The government then levied a multi-billion dollar antitrust fine against Alibaba (which is sometimes compared to Amazon), deleted its popular web browser from app stores, and took a bunch of other actions against it. The value of Ma's business empire has collapsed.

But Ma was only the most prominent target. The government is also going after other fintech companies, including those owned by Didi (China's Uber) and Tencent (China's biggest social media company). As Didi prepared to IPO in the U.S., Chinese regulators announced they were reviewing the company on "national security grounds", and are now levying various penalties against it. The government has also embarked on an "antitrust" push, fining Tencent and Baidu - two other top Chinese internet companies - for various past deals. Leaders of top tech companies (also including ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok) were summoned before regulators and presumably berated. Various Chinese tech companies are now undergoing "rectification".

Continued here


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