American critics of U.S. tech giants must be looking a little enviously at how China is clamping down on its tech industry. On almost every issue that tech’s U.S. detractors have focused on—alleged antitrust breaches, data privacy and most recently, the rights of workers handling food delivery—the Chinese government has taken action against local tech firms. (The debate about online misinformation and censorship hasn’t come up much but then, China has long taken a different approach to that issue.)
Chinese tech investors are understandably jittery. New York-listed Alibaba shares have dropped 18% this year, even as the Nasdaq has appreciated 15%. Just today, after the government’s food delivery directives, shares of food delivery giant Meituan fell 14%. Meanwhile, the sudden ban on for-profit tutoring threatens investments made by everyone including Tencent, Alibaba, SoftBank, Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital China, as we noted today. TikTok-owner ByteDance had hired around 10,000 people to expand into the online education market, plans which are now under a cloud.