Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Central Finance and Economics Commission on the 15th, demanding that “platforms” that have accumulated a large amount of data and have market appeal should “enhance regulatory authority.”
Xi also stressed that “oppose monopoly and prevent disorderly expansion of capital” and “strengthen the responsibility of platform enterprises for data security, and financial activities should all be included in financial supervision.”
Bloomberg analyzed Xi’s unusually strong wording as an indication that the CCP’s crackdown on the Internet sector has only just begun. It also suggests that Beijing is preparing to expand a campaign against “the largest and most powerful private companies. The first to go down are Alibaba and Ant Group. But other Internet “platform economies” are also in danger.
On March 12, the Communist Party’s General Administration of Market Supervision (GAMS) officially imposed administrative fines totaling RMB 6 million on 12 Chinese online companies, including Tencent and Baidu, for monopolistic acquisitions. The Wall Street Journal revealed on March 13 that Alibaba will receive a “record” amount of higher fines.
Some economists believe that the game between regulators and tech giants involves a duel of forces represented by the shareholders behind the tech giants.
Huang Qiyuan, a veteran venture capitalist and now president of Landor Asia, told Voice of America that the Communist Party’s regulation does carry additional political considerations. If Ant succeeds in raising $35 billion, coupled with its user base of 800 million to 1 billion people, such a scale and power could overtake the CCP regime, which would spark fear in the CCP.
Fierce infighting among CCP factions
In response to Xi Jinping’s speech at the Central Finance Conference, current political figure Zhong Yuan analyzed that Xi’s biggest target should be the top CCP officials behind the economy of each platform, once again to twist their necks so that they dare not talk nonsense and can only show their loyalty.
According to the article, the internal cycle does not seem to be able to push, and it is more difficult to steal Western technology, so the Communist Party’s top officials are eager to master the economy of each platform. As the U.S.-China diplomatic meeting is imminent, Xi Jinping convened a financial conference, both for political and economic concerns as well as diplomatic needs.
Zhong Yuan pointed out that, after all, the lively publicity of the two meetings cannot solve the substantive problems, and there is still no way out of the dilemma of internal and external affairs, and the top echelons of the Communist Party are always worried about the power position, so a new round of competition around the platform economy has been launched.
The Wall Street Journal on February 17 quoted a dozen CCP officials and government advisors as saying that a high-level investigation into the shareholding structure of Ant Group found that Jiang Zhicheng, son of Jiang Zemin’s eldest son Jiang Mianheng, and Li Botan, son-in-law of Jia Qinglin, a former member of the Standing Committee of the CCP’s Politburo, were among the secret investors in Ant.
U.S.-based current affairs commentator Lan Shu said: Beijing’s crackdown on the IPO of Ma’s Ant Group has a background of power struggle between various factions of the Communist Party. So far, the factional power struggle is still dangerous. And the report cites various sources to hammer Jiang Zemin, Jia Qinglin and other Jiang faction forces with obvious intentions.
The report said that Xi Jinping is more afraid of these people’s power and money deals and collusion with each other to form a solid alliance of interests, which is a huge threat to Xi. The “20th Congress” is coming up, and for Xi, 2021 will be a decisive point, where swords and sorcery and infighting are inevitable.