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Asia

China’s Crackdown Could Squeeze Tech

It’s easy to get caught up in the exciting possibilities of the new tech world being forged in China. Billion-dollar startups seemingly born every other day. Smartphone digital wallets replacing cash. Facial scanners instead of airplane boarding passes. But this euphoria masks one of the harshest crackdowns gripping China in years—one that has affected big investors in the U.S. such as Dalian Wanda, owners of a major Hollywood studio and the biggest chain of U.S. cinemas.

And it could affect others. President Xi Jinping reportedly personally authorized the latest action against Dalian Wanda, arguably the country’s most high profile and politically connected property developer. That suggests no one is immune. Even someone as famous as Alibaba founder Jack Ma could face increased political risks in the current climate.  

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Companies that appeared to have the central party’s blessings are suddenly in the crosshairs—perhaps because their patrons are out of favor, or perhaps because of inherent risks.