Updated June 19th, 2021 at 00:00 IST
After Jack Ma, China threatens another tech billionaire as ancient poem spooks Xi Jinping
As per the report, the Chinese government summoned the CEO of Meituan-Dianping Wang Xing to a meeting and warned the billionaire from courting the spotlight
After the autocratic crackdown on Jack Ma and the criminal systematic dismantling of his Alibaba empire, China has issued a warning to another Chinese billionaire Wang Xing after the founder of China’s third-largest tech corporation Meituan last month posted an ancient poem that was taken by many as an implicit criticism of the Xi Jinping's government, as reported by Bloomberg. Notably, it is not the first time the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has used its dominance against people who criticise the government, the most famous example being Alibaba's founder billionaire Jack Ma.
China summons Meituan's Wang Xing over 'controversial' poem
According to the report, the Chinese government summoned the CEO of Meituan-Dianping Wang Xing to a meeting and warned the billionaire from courting the spotlight. The poem, posted on May 6 on a small social media platform Wang founded, criticises the emperor of the Qin dynasty, who burnt books to suppress intellectual dissidents only to be overthrown by illiterates. Many on social media interpreted the post as an allusion to the 'anti-monopoly' campaign of President Xi Jinping, where the only permissible monopoly appears to be concentrated in the hands of Xi himself, who apart from being the President of China is also the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) which gives him ultimate power and control in the country.
China in February released new anti-monopoly guidelines that target internet platforms, tightening existing restrictions faced by the country’s tech giants. These same laws were used to fine Jack Ma's Alibaba and Ant Financial almost $3 billion.
After Wang Xing's ancient poem went viral and was taken as anti-establishment, Wang Xing witnessed a $26 billion selloff in Meituan’s shares over two days. Following this Wang Xing broke his silence and said that his post had been targeted at the short-sightedness of his own industry, not on the Xi Jinping's anti-monopoly guidelines. The report also suggests that the Chinese government is not taking serious action against Wang as they did not want to convey the impression that every minor transgression could result in dire consequences, though it clearly wants that message to reach those who have ideas.
Chinese government destroys Jack Ma's empire, makes him go 'missing'
Ant Group, formerly known as Ant Financial and Alipay, is an affiliate company of the Alibaba Group, founded by Jack Ma. The company was set to raise the world's biggest ever IPO (an estimated $35 billion) in history in 2020, which could have been a reality if only Jack Ma had not questioned Chinese financial regulators.
Moreover, Chinese regulators on April 10 imposed a record fine of $2.8 billion on Alibaba for what they claimed as Alibaba had abused its dominant market position. The Chinese regulators claimed that an anti-monopoly investigation concluded that the company, which is owned by Jack Ma, used its platform rules and technical methods like data and algorithms to maintain and strengthen its own market power and obtain an improper competitive advantage.
It all started in 2020, when Jack Ma, gave a speech in Shanghai at the Bund Summit and criticised Chinese regulators for stifling innovation, and said that Chinese banks suffered from a 'pawnshop mentality' given that banks, like the informal lenders of yore, still relied on a system of 'pledges and collateral.'
Following that, within in span of eight to nine months, the valuation of Jack Ma's companies has declined by nearly 50%. The Xi Jinping-led Chinese regime has also compelled Jack Ma to sell the South China Morning Post (SCMP) which was a Hong Kong-based daily, owing to its growing influence over public opinion in China.
(Image Credits: AP)
Published June 19th, 2021 at 00:00 IST