WUZHEN, China, September 26 (Reuters) – Chinese technology officials, facing repression from the authorities, pledged on Sunday to support Beijing’s “common prosperity” campaign and help small businesses.
Alibaba Group CEO (9988.HK) Daniel Zhang, a prime target of the broad crackdown, told a conference hosted by China’s top internet regulator that his company‘s $ 15 billion plan to stimulate common prosperity in China “steadily advanced”.
Common prosperity – the term used by China to narrow the gap between rich and poor – is “not just a number,” Zhang said, stressing the importance of helping local talent in poor areas to ” to teach a man to fish “.
The World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, eastern China is hosted by the Cyberspace Administration of China. In the past, the conference has attracted foreign leaders such as Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, but overseas attendance has been affected this year by COVID-19 protocols and deteriorating US-China relations.
Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) CEO Cristiano Amon, Intel Corp (INTC.O) CEO Patrick Gelsinger and Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) founder Elon Musk made recorded remarks.
China’s regulatory crackdown has hit industries ranging from cryptocurrencies and the internet to entertainment, education and real estate, wiping out hundreds of billions from the market value of some of its largest companies and putting investors on alert as to who might be next.
The listing of Alibaba’s financial subsidiary was halted and the e-commerce giant was fined a record $ 2.75 for anti-competitive behavior.
Policymakers and leaders at the conference did not directly address the crackdown, although Chinese vice premier Liu He said the digital economy can sometimes stifle competition.
Common prosperity reappeared as a slogan this year after President Xi Jinping used it in public remarks.
Xiaomi Corp (1810.HK) CEO Lei Jun has called on big tech companies to help small and medium-sized businesses more, saying they must “not let any group fall behind.”
In videotaped remarks, Neil Shen, the founding partner of Sequoia Capital China, which has supported tech giants such as ByteDance and Didi Global Inc (DIDI.N), hailed a planned tech exchange in Beijing as helping small enterprises.
Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Editing by William Mallard
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