- Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said Monday that China’s new regulations to prevent the formation of internet monopolies are “timely and necessary.”
- China announced new rules in early November that could tighten restrictions on tech companies, like Alibaba, including preventing them from sharing sensitive user data and from banding together to push out smaller competitors.
- Zhang’s comments come after Chinese regulators pulled Jack Ma’s Ant Group, an Alibaba affiliate, after the billionaire snubbed the nation’s banking regulations.
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Alibaba CEO Daniel Zhang said China’s new restrictions on tech companies are “timely and necessary” as the nation attempts to keep from growing too powerful.
Zhang made the comments at an internet conference in China on Monday, according to a state news agency and reported by CNN, when he said that he would welcome new regulations that China is introducing.
The government is looking to set stricter anti-competitive behaviour guidelines and prevent companies from sharing sensitive user data and from banding together to stifle smaller competitors, among other things, per the BBC. The new rules, which were introduced in early November, would directly impact China’s biggest tech companies including Alibaba.
“We believe this is very timely and necessary,” Zhang said Monday, adding that the government needs to implement policies and regulations as innovation evolves in China.
Some have come to refer to Alibaba as the “Amazon of China” since it was founded in 1999, and its market capitalisation has ballooned to around $US660 billion. When the ecommerce giant went public in 2014, it made history as the largest IPO at the time.
Zhang’s comments contrast sharply with those made by Alibaba founder and ex-CEO Jack Ma in late October, when he bluntly dismissed China’s regulatory rules as outdated and called the people enforcing a set of international banking regulations as “an old man’s club.”
A week after the comments were made, China introduced new regulations on micro-lending for the nation’s tech firms. The draft rules directly impacted Ma’s Ant Group, an Alibaba affiliate that was gearing up for an unprecedented IPO in early November before Chinese regulators suspended Ant’s Shanghai listing. The company willingly pulled its listing in Hong Kong. Ant’s lucrative online lending business accounts for nearly 40% of its revenue, according to regulatory filings.
Experts say Ant now has to reapply to qualify for a listing to comply with the new rules, and it may be another six months before the firm files again. When it does, it will likely not be the buzzy fintech disruptor it was once touted to be.
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