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Big tech firms pledge support for China’s SMEs

Big tech firms pledge support for China’s SMEs


Many off China’s tech giants have pledged to support the country’s smaller businesses, making the promise at the 2021 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit.

Opening the conference, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He urged countries around the world to safeguard the safety and reliability of the infrastructure, protect fair competition and boost innovations.

He said: “China has experience and capability to manage and control risks. Its development prospects are very bright.”

Speaking at the conference, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang Yong said the best way for tech companies to grow was to “helping others to achieve their goals”.

He said when SMEs have vitality then online platforms would also have vitality, and so the wider economy benefits. The e-commerce giant, which was fined a record $2.75 billion for anti-competitive behaviour earlier this year, has since pledged a $15 billion to boost prosperity in China.

Echoing Zhang’s comments, Lei Jun, CEO of Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, also called on big tech to provide “all-process support and help to SMEs”.

Dixon Dai, founder and chairman of Wetrade Group, an exhibitor at the conference, said that prospective innovation from internet companies must be relevant to the livelihoods of ordinary people, especially older people.

“Currently, the elderly Chinese have not gained tangible benefit from China’s digital revolution,” Dai said.

According to a blue paper published at the conference on Sunday, the 39.2 trillion yuan ($6.06 trillion) digital economy has become a key driver to ensure the world's second largest economy's steady growth. China's governance system on platform economy has established and is gradually improved.

It is estimated that by 2025 China’s information service market scale will surpass 20 trillion yuan, said Yang Jie, chairman of China Mobile at the conference.


Focus on cybersecurity

This year’s conference put the spotlight firmly on cybersecurity. In his conference-opening speech, Vice Premier Liu suggested that crackdown on illegal online behaviour should be an area of global cooperation, not recrimination.

He said China has always taken a cooperative yet uncompromising stance on cybersecurity, meaning the country advocates for mutual respect in terms of sovereignty and core interests.

Following a cybersecurity review of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi, Tesla’s chief Elon Musk told the conference in a virtual speech that the company had set up a data centre in China to store all data generated locally by the company’s businesses.

“At Tesla, we are glad to see a number of laws and regulations that have been released to strengthen data management,” he said, adding: “All personally identifiable information is securely stored in China without being transferred overseas… I believe data protection is not only an issue of one single company but should be a mutual effort for all industry players.”