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Opinion

Facing up to China's state-led tech revolution

Success of authoritarian innovation challenges liberal market theories

| China
The Chinese technology giants' rapid growth owes much to their close collaboration with the government.   © Reuters

At first glance, leading Chinese internet players like Baidu, Tencent Holdings and Didi Chuxing can look like copies of established U.S. counterparts like Google or Uber. But there is a crucial difference.

The American companies are products of Silicon Valley's cut-and-thrust markets, one of the planet's purest forms of capitalism. By contrast, while the Chinese companies are all privately owned, their rapid growth at home and abroad owes much to the firm hand of the Chinese state.

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