Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser tried on Tuesday to soothe concerns among executives at China tech firms and pledged “support” for the sector amid a deepening economic slump and a recent regulatory crackdown.
Liu He, also a vice-premier, said Beijing backed the development of the sector and would help with public listings for tech groups both in China and overseas.
Liu was speaking at a meeting convened by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country’s top policy advisory body. It was the strongest sign yet that Beijing would ease off on the sector.
Footage of the meeting broadcast by CCTV showed Robin Li, founder of search engine giant Baidu and and Zhou Hongyi, who started the mobile security software maker Qihoo 360 in attendance.
The unprecedented regulatory crackdown, which began in late 2020, has hit China tech firms and roiled markets, shaving billions of dollars in market value from the companies.
Hong Kong and US-listed shares of China tech firms rose on Tuesday after news of the meeting emerged. Liu said at the meeting that policymakers would “properly manage” the relationship between the government and market.
CCTV quoted him as saying that China would support the healthy development of digital platforms, including those used to conduct online commerce, a major driver of economic activity.
Liu’s comments come as Covid-19 curbs and other steps to battle the pandemic have created havoc for businesses and supply chains across a range of sectors, adding to fears the world’s second-largest economy could shrink in the second quarter.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell