In what has turned out to be a show of humility and contrition, China’s tech giants from Alibaba to Didi have been quick to concede when pulled up by regulators for an ever-growing list of transgressions in the recent months. Whether it’s about alleged anti-competitive practices, cybersecurity lapses or personal data abuse, all have shown remorse, acting promptly to comply or rectify their mistakes.
Underpinning the crackdown is the worry that China’s Big Tech is stifling competition and innovation, regulators say. In the last two decades, the country’s vast internet economy has been dominated by Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, the first-generation tech giants, as well as by subsequent contenders, ByteDance, Meituan and Didi – leaving new and smaller companies with little breathing space. Each of the tech giants has created its own ecosystem, building empires of data, customer and business networks that startups can no longer compete against. So instead, they mostly try to join them.
Investors, especially those overseas, might be