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China tech

Under pressure, Baidu and Tencent tout contributions to China

Jack Ma and Didi CEO Cheng Wei absent from this year's AI expo in Shanghai

A staff member at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai in 2020: the annual event usually highlights the latest technological breakthroughs.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- The World Artificial Intelligence Conference has traditionally given leading Chinese technology companies a stage on which to reveal the latest advancements in the field. This year, however, companies seemed more intent on showing their contributions to society and the government.

The marked change in tone at the annual conference in Shanghai reflects the increased regulatory pressure Beijing has placed on its tech sector and the desire of companies to stay out of regulators' crosshairs. It also signals that the government, not industry, has the upper hand.

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