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Is China considering a data tax on big tech? Signs point to yes

Key party member says profits earned on information belong to all, not just companies

After a 2020 speech by Alibaba founder and billionaire Jack Ma, Beijing began a broad crackdown on big tech that may now include a tax on digital holdings.   © Reuters

SHANGHAI -- The possible imposition of a so-called 'data tax' on platform developers including giant internet companies has emerged as another facet of President's Xi Jinping's 'common prosperity' drive to share wealth more equitably throughout the nation.

"Platforms that possess large amounts of personal information should return 20% to 30% of revenue generated by transactions to the producers of that data," former Chongqing Mayor Huang Qifan said in a speech at an annual financial conference held here at the end of October. He argued that the benefits gained from data should be returned to society as a whole, including to individuals who produced the data and not just specific stakeholders.

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