Xi Calls for Tighter Regulation of $6 Trillion Tech Sector

Chinese President Xi Jinping called Monday for better regulation of the country’s $6 trillion technology sector as the digital economy develops.

In remarks before a study session on the digital economy of the Politburo of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, Xi vowed to correct practices that harm the interests of consumers and hinder fair competition, to prevent monopoly of platforms and disorderly capital expansion, to protect platform workers’ and consumers’ rights and interests and to strengthen tax supervision and inspection.

China’s digital economy grew to 39.2 trillion yuan ($6.07 trillion) in 2020, accounting for 38.6% of the country’s total GDP and up 9.7% year-on-year, according to an April white paper published by the state-backed China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. Beijing is speeding up efforts to expand the digital economy under the 14th Five-Year Plan, setting higher GDP contribution targets for digital industries.

At the same time, authorities have been stepping up scrutiny of the technology sector. Online food delivery company Meituan was recently fined $530 million for violating anti-monopoly regulations, following a record $2.8 billion antitrust fine imposed on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. earlier this year.

Xi also called for greater integration of traditional industries with the digital economy, promoting the digitization of manufacturing, service, agriculture and other industries, making use of new internet technologies to transform traditional industries and giving full play to the role of digital technology in boosting economic growth.

He stressed the importance of developing homegrown technologies in key areas. China needs to “achieve high-level self-reliance and self-improvement as soon as possible and keep the autonomy of developing the digital economy firmly in its own hands,” the president said.

He also called for further participation in global cooperation on the digital economy to contribute China’s solutions and make its voice heard.

Author: Denise Jia, Caixin Global

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