The Chinese approach to controlling Big Tech and particularly the data controlled by the companies concerned is being watched closely by the world.
At first, there was optimism. Everyone is wondering how to control Big Tech, and the Chinese approach certainly did that. And fast.
So effective was the initial Chinese approach that many companies panicked early and changed their rules ahead of any possible backlash from Beijing.
Didi broke rank, in one respect, and went ahead with a listing in New York, after which the hammer came down, Didi’s stock price fell, and the Americans were up in arms, blaming anyone and everyone for allowing US citizens to invest in a company without proper access to the financials.
More recently, the Chinese approach has triggered an enormous amount of public statements from Big Tech, in fact, any Tech, to promote and support the Chinese ideal of ‘common prosperity’, an approach that seeks to narrow the gap between rich and poor.
The Chinese approach has undoubtedly been effective in curbing the power of the biggest companies, but now consequences are emerging that are sending ripples (or tsunamis) around the world.
The Chinese approach now seems to have gone too far, too fast. It will send innovation overseas, it will stifle companies’ activities, and further consequences and actions are inevitable.
More importantly, while the Chinese approach uses the banner headline of protecting consumers and their data, it remains the case that the Chinese Government now has access to consumers’ data, which will send warning signals to every freedom-loving Chinese citizen.
If you want a blueprint for closing a big company down, then the Chinese approach is just that. If you’re going to take lessons from it to control Big Tech, for example, then perhaps try a ‘Chinese Lite’ approach.
What might be helpful for any country looking to address this issue is to wait and see what the next months and perhaps years bring from China.
And then, pick and choose the most effective parts.