- CNN BUSINESS - 16 Mar, 2021 -
Laura He -
Hong Kong (CNN Business)Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the country's regulators this week to step up their crackdown on tech companies and extend scrutiny to all areas of financial activity.
Xi stressed the need to regulate "platform" companies to maintain social stability during a meeting of China's leaders on Monday, according to state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The phrase "platform company" in China typically refers to businesses that offer online services for customers.
The Chinese president added that it was necessary to strengthen regulation of the internet sector, according to a summary of his remarks published by Xinhua. The state media outlet reported that "all financial activities must be included in financial regulations," according to Xi.
The published comments mark Xi's first words on the topic since December, when he described antitrust supervision of the digital economy one of China's most important priorities for 2021.
While Xi didn't single out any company by name, his decision to double down on regulatory efforts could spell more trouble for big tech firms like Alibaba (BABA) and its financial affiliate Ant Group, which have already been grappling with increased scrutiny.
Ant, which owns the popular digital payments app Alipay and has huge interests in online investing, insurance and consumer lending, was forced to shelve a big IPO last November and has since been ordered to overhaul its business.