Internet

Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled "Machine Hallucinations — Space: Metaverse" by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby's, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China, 30 September 2021. (Tyrone Siu/File Photo/Reuters)

Metaverse: A chance to build a better world

Academic Pei Sai Fan says that one should dream big with the metaverse and not only see it as a new avenue of making money. By creating a new virtual universe from scratch, we can make good use of the blockchain-based metaverse to promote an equitable, more transparent and more inclusive rules-based international digital currency and financial system and enhance the global governance system to deal with issues facing all countries. This would require a global approach and China is well placed technologically to actively participate and lead the effort with like-minded nations in creating such a metaverse. It would be a pity if countries squandered such an opportunity to truly build a better world for all mankind.
Two women participate in a livestreaming e-commerce contest in Anhui, China, 19 October 2021. (CNS)

Why half of Chinese youths want to be an influencer

Recently, an influencer from Zhengzhou in China reportedly repaid about six million RMB in back taxes, prompting people to question how much influencers or internet celebrities actually make. Do all influencers earn top dollar? Media commentator Yuan Guobao looks into the highs and lows of this volatile industry.
Actors stand near a board with logos of Maoyan Entertainment and Chinese company ByteDance's app TikTok, known locally as Douyin, at a red carpet ceremony at the Beijing International Film Festival, in Beijing, China, 20 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's burgeoning e-commerce cyberspace and its ever more complex regulations

Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi says that many users of platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou and WeChat spend hours each day scrolling aimlessly for interesting content, and the art of directing these potential consumers to their products through content creators is complicated. To facilitate this process, it is necessary to ensure fair competition for all participants. This is where anti-monopoly rules can play a part, and with a growing cyberspace, it will be an ever more complex task.
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a meeting commemorating the 110th anniversary of Xinhai Revolution at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 9 October 2021. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

Power games in China's clampdowns on platform companies

Japanese academic Kai Kajitani says that given China's past efforts to clamp down on individuals and entities that "stick out too much", its current clampdown on internet platform companies is not surprising. Such moves are also expected as the Chinese government seeks to win popular support and stabilise society ahead of the 20th Party Congress in 2022.
Amazon workers, environmental advocates, labour groups, and small business owners participate in a rally and news conference to protest plans for a new Amazon air cargo mega-hub at the Newark International Airport on 6 October 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Worsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions

In the digital era we live in, seven “super platforms” in the US and China constitute two-thirds of total market value worldwide. Yet we hardly see any significant joint efforts or “healthy competition” between the US and China to help combat digital divides in the least developed countries. These are places where more than 80% of the population are still offline and the problem has been compounded by the pandemic. How can the US and China do more where help is most needed?
This photo taken on 6 September 2021 shows residents looking at a flooded area after heavy rainfalls in Quxian county, Dazhou city, Sichuan province, China. (STR/AFP)

Chinese economics professor: The making of a moral society

How can one encourage a society where people do things that benefit not just themselves but also others? How can we eliminate bad behaviours and encourage better ones by institutionalising various means of rewarding good behaviour? Chinese economics professor Li Jingkui looks at examples from Chinese modern life and history to find the answers.
People visit the Alibaba booth during the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China, 4 September 2021. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

How internet giants' monopolistic practices hurt SMEs in China

Internet giants in China have been engaging in monopolistic practices that hurt the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, says technology specialist Yin Ruizhi. As such, these practices will be dealt with by the government if the platforms themselves do not find ways to resolve them. Is this another move towards "common prosperity"?
The Alibaba Group signage is seen during the company's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at their headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 11 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

After reining in the tutoring sector, will the Chinese government target internet titans next?

With the Chinese government’s recent big crackdown on the education sector, some people are concerned that other internet platforms such as Alibaba and Meituan might be next. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi explains why it is unlikely that Chinese internet titans will be hit as hard.
A bolt of lightning crosses the sky as people look at buildings displaying a light show on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, China, on 30 June 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP)

'Winner takes all' no more: China is ready to build the socialist regulatory state

After observing, learning about and experimenting with selected components of capitalism, China is now ready to govern the market in its own style, to create the society of a new socialist regulatory state while bolstering support for the government. Lance Gore says it holds true, whether in China's history or the imagined fairer future society, that Chinese merchants and capital must see their contributions through the larger lens of society and the nation. That is, the capital market must serve the real economy and develop the productive strength of the nation. Creating the socialist regulatory state is like doing a "delicate dance", and as a new creation, there would be chances of missteps and even mishaps.