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Xi Jinping’s assault on tech will change China’s trajectory

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OF ALL CHINA’S achievements in the past two decades, one of the most impressive is the rise of its technology industry. Alibaba hosts twice as much e-commerce activity as Amazon does. Tencent runs the world’s most popular super-app, with 1.2bn users. China’s tech revolution has also helped transform its long-run economic prospects at home, by allowing it to leap beyond manufacturing into new fields such as digital health care and artificial intelligence (AI). As well as propelling China’s prosperity, a dazzling tech industry could also be the foundation for a challenge to American supremacy.

That is why President Xi Jinping’s assault on his country’s $4trn tech industry is so startling. There have been over 50 regulatory actions against scores of firms for a dizzying array of alleged offences, from antitrust abuses to data violations. The threat of government bans and fines has weighed on share prices, costing investors around…

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