Tue, Dec 25, 2018 - Page 14 News List

Beijing turns on homegrown Internet giants
你大 黨比你更大 中國網路巨頭與中國政府關係降溫

Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma speaks during a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 18 last year.

Photo: AFP

China’s three colossuses of the Internet: Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu appear to have fallen out of favor with the Chinese government. Having grown too fast and become too powerful, they have become victims of their own success and are increasingly viewed as a threat by Beijing. According to a veteran industry insider, the Chinese government has communicated to the companies that they were only able to grow so big because the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) let them do so.

The Chinese edition of the Financial Times reports that Beijing originally used the growth of Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and other private-sector companies as a means to boost employment and spur on economic growth. However, despite the best efforts of these companies to ensure they remain in tune with the party’s national ambitions, their explosive growth in recent years has led the authorities to view them as a threat. Consequently, the Chinese government has gradually begun to change its stance toward the companies.

Previously, the CCP relied on party cadres embedded within the companies to provide guidance to managers, however the party has now stepped up its oversight and regulatory processes. The party recently established an “online game morality committee” in addition to other measures tasked with examining the “moral threat” of online games. Many games companies have suffered heavy financial losses as a result. Tencent, for example, has felt the effect of the official clampdown on online gaming, with its share price plummeting 25 percent this year.

According to the industry insider, the Chinese government issued a communication which read: “Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu and other tech companies: you should not feel too complacent. The reason you have been able to grow so big is because the party has allowed you to do so.”


1. veteran adj.
資深的 (zi1 shen1 de5)

2. industry insider phr.
業內人士 (ye4 nei4 ren2 shi4)

3. private-sector company phr.
民間企業 (min2 jian1 qi4 ye4)

4. economic growth phr.
經濟發展(jing1 ji4 fa1 zhan3)

5. share price phr.
股價 (gu3 jia4)

6. tech company phr.
科技公司 (ke1 ji4 gong1 si1)

(Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times)


《金融時報中文網》報導,中國政府原本是利用阿里巴巴、騰訊和百度等民間企業的成長,促進該國就業與推動國內經濟發展,但近年來這些企業迅速大規模發展,變得強大,儘管它們努力與國家的目標保持一致,但仍讓中國政府備感威脅 , 也因為如此,中國政府近來也漸漸改變對這些企業的態度 。





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Reading Comprehension

Today Chinese Communist Party cells and committees are a regular feature within Chinese companies, whether they be private-sector or state-run organizations. The practice started under former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (江澤民), who initiated a campaign starting in 2002 to set up party structures in private companies. The idea was to bring the then-freewheeling private sector into the party political system and ensure its goals were fully-aligned with the party. Party committees and cells do not just exist within Chinese companies, but also feature within foreign companies which have established a presence in China.

Following evidence of widespread corruption and abuse of the system by party cadres in cahoots with entrepreneurs, after assuming power in 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) engaged in an unprecedented anti-corruption campaign to root out both “tigers” and “flies” — meaning both high- and low-ranking officials. It is estimated that over one million officials have been arrested for graft violations since the start of the crackdown. Power has once again been centralized and the party has re-established control over the private sector. It remains to be seen if the hitherto lively entrepreneurial spirit and initiative of China’s private sector can continue to flourish under such tight control, or whether it will be gradually snuffed out.

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