Internet

People walk past the headquarters of the Chinese ride-hailing service Didi in Beijing, China, 3 December 2021. (Thomas Peter/File Photo/Reuters)

Does end of Didi probe signal new beginnings for China’s internet economy?

With the economic and political blowback from its regulatory crackdowns in the past two years, coupled with economic pressures from the pandemic, the Chinese authorities may be ready to ease up on high-pressure regulations of the internet sector.
People wearing face masks walk out of a subway station during morning rush hour in Beijing, China, 26 April 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Patriotism has become a commodity on Chinese social media

Chinese internet celebrities have landed in hot water since social media platforms began displaying the IP addresses of posts by verified accounts. Netizens are crying foul as the locations of these individuals have potentially exposed the deception and falsehoods in their content and “patriotic” personae. Is this the end for the “patriotic Big Vs”?
A logo of Tencent is seen during the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, 23 November 2020. (Aly Song/File Photo/Reuters)

Tencent struggles to grow amid crackdowns and competition

Hit by China's regulatory crackdowns, increased competition and slowing growth, Chinese internet titan Tencent had a tough 2021. The company has had to restructure and expand its international revenue streams, and it is now faced with tough layoffs. How is it staying relevant in the tech game, and does this mean that "winter is coming" for the internet giant?
Pedestrians along the near-empty Nanjing Road shopping street outside of the impacted areas during a lockdown due to Covid-19 in Shanghai, China, on 31 March 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China gears up for grimmer economic outlook

China is currently dealing with its worst Covid outbreak since the start of the pandemic in 2020. It is aso facing the "triple pressures" of shrinking demand, disrupted supply and weakening expectations. The central government has introduced new policies and measures such as tax cuts for businesses, the easing of property market restrictions, and providing support for local governments' infrastructure investment, but analysts are expecting a bumpy road ahead for China's economic growth.
This photo taken on 28 November 2021 shows candidates queueing to take the national examination for admissions to the civil service in Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. (AFP)

Are China's youths leaving the internet sector for the public sector?

With the ongoing pandemic and last year's crackdowns on internet giants, some young people are switching tracks and moving from the private sector — especially the internet sector — to the public sector, which is still thought of as a stable career. Will this lead to a loss of talent for the internet sector? Zaobao journalist Liu Liu speaks to young people and academics for their views.
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.