China Vice Premier Liu to speak at key meeting with tech execs -sources

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He is scheduled to speak at a Tuesday meeting with tech executives that has been convened by the country’s top political consultative body to promote the development of the digital economy, people familiar with the matter said.

The meeting, currently underway, is being closely watched for remarks by Liu and others for clues as to how far Chinese authorities will go in easing a regulatory crackdown since late 2020 on the once-freewheeling tech sector.

Liu has been at the forefront of efforts by the government to assure the private sector of support.

Chinese tech founders such as Qihoo 360’s Zhou Hongyi and Baidu Inc’s Robin Li are attending the meeting organised by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the sources said, declining to be named as the information has not been yet made public.

Both Zhou and Li are members of the CPPCC, which brings prominent people in business, the arts and academia to discuss issues with the Chinese Communist Party.

The sources added there are about a hundred attendees, including some representatives from internet firms.

The CPPCC Daily said members had gathered material for discussion by talking to experts, company representatives and scholars. The report did not name any companies.

Shares in Hong Kong-listed Chinese tech giants rose on Tuesday morning after the newspaper report.

Baidu and Qihoo 360 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Media outlets including Reuters reported late last month that China’s top leaders would hold a symposium in May with a number of internet companies that would be chaired by President Xi Jinping.

The CPPCC Daily did not report if Xi was attending the meeting.

Authors: Binbin Huang, Brenda Goh, Yingzhi Yang, Josh Ye, Julie Zhu, Sophie Yu, Reuters

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