China recently launched a series of anti-monopoly probes and stepped up economic regulations over some tech companies. These measures do not indicate a departure from decades of market opening and engagement with the world, they rather reinforce that the commitment of the world's second-largest economy to reform and opening-up remains unchanged.
Many insiders as well outsiders have taken notice of these enhanced regulations. Chinese authorities' talks with leading online game enterprises and platforms such as Tencent and NetEase held on Wednesday suggest the same.
A closer look would reveal that China's strengthened regulations are specific and problem-oriented. They should not be taken as a wide-ranging crackdown for the sake of cracking down on private companies, but prescriptions for certain persistent ailments.
The latest measures targeting online gaming giants, which include shortening the duration of online gaming services available to minors, are aimed at improving youth development.
The regulations and investigations involving corporate giants with a huge trove of Chinese data aim to protect the privacy and data security of numerous consumers, as well as the security of the state.
For some tech giants -- known as "platform companies" in China -- which play a dominant role in their respective markets, the regulations and investigations address unfair practices such as the notorious "er xuan yi," or "choose one from two." The monopolistic demand of some platform companies from much smaller merchants, if goes unchecked, could undermine fair competition, stifle market access and innovation, and ultimately harm consumer interests and the entire economy.
There are also regulations and investigations that seek to balance the relationship between big platforms and their workforce, ensuring workers' legitimate rights and interests vis-a-vis big capital.
In a nutshell, the broad stroke that China is cracking down on tech companies is biased.
It is worth pointing out that with the rapid development of the digital economy, other major global economies have also been moving to beef up supervision and regulation over giant tech companies. Governments across the Atlantic are making efforts in digital industrial policy formulation, increasing their regulatory and governance capabilities in preventing monopolies in the digital economy, safeguarding data security, bridging the digital divide, and combating illegal tax evasion.
China is not regressing as some media accused. On the contrary, it has adopted a more forward-looking approach to the universal challenges and issues facing many countries.
In forestalling and defusing the risks brought about by the disorderly and even barbaric expansion of capital, China is also putting people first and not corporate giants. The country aims to promote common prosperity for all and not just a few.
In its pursuit of a unified, open, competitive and orderly market, China has not and will not stop promoting fair competition, market reforms, a supervision system and strengthened anti-monopoly regulation. The country will strive to build a high-standard market system.
Tech companies are encouraged to perceive the big picture and serve the country's economic and social development. They are also urged to play active roles in promoting scientific and technological progress, market prosperity, improvement of people's lives, and participate in cross-border competition.
China's firm determination and prudent practices will optimize its economic structure, capital markets and governance in the longer term as well as reduce risks and facilitate fair market competition.
China will also unswervingly promote high-level opening-up, protect property and intellectual property rights, and enhance policy transparency and predictability.