By Yingzhi Yang and Josh Horwitz
WUZHEN, China (Reuters) – China’s move to draft rules aimed at preventing monopolistic behaviour by internet platforms is “timely and necessary”, Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang said on Monday.
Speaking at the World Internet Conference, Zhang said Chinese internet companies have moved to the forefront of the global industry with the help of government policies, but regulations need to evolve.
The industry’s “development and government supervision is a relationship that promotes and relies on each other, so that platform enterprises cannot only develop well themselves, but also serve the sustainable and healthy development of the whole society,” he said.
The annual event from Nov. 23-24 organised by the Cyberspace Administration of China takes place as the country’s internet giants including Alibaba, Tencent Holdings and Meituan face increasing government scrutiny.
Earlier this month the planned $37 billion share market listing of Alibaba affiliate Ant Group was suspended after regulators warned its lucrative online lending business faced tighter scrutiny.
Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplaces and payment services are also expected to face greater oversight under the draft rules published on Nov. 10 by China’s market regulator, which said it wanted to prevent platforms from dominating the market or from adopting methods aimed at blocking fair competition.
Zhang is one of the few Chinese technology chiefs to appear publicly at the event after it was scaled down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other chief executives such as Qualcomm Inc’s Steve Mollenkopf delivered remarks via video.
(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Josh Horwitz in Wuzhen, writing by Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Stephen Coates)