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Politics

China party meeting vows to block monopolies, with eye on tech giants

Leaders agree to 'prevent disorderly capital expansion' next year

Chinese President Xi Jinping presided over the Central Economic Work Conference where Communist Party leaders agreed to intensify anti-monopoly supervision and prevent disorderly capital expansion next year.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- Chinese officials proposed tougher antitrust restrictions at a key economic planning meeting on Friday, as President Xi Jinping's government targets the growing power of the country's technology groups.

Efforts will be made to intensify anti-monopoly supervision and prevent disorderly capital expansion next year, according to a statement released following the Central Economic Work Conference held from Wednesday to Friday.

The statement appears aimed at online service providers that have extended their reach during the coronavirus pandemic.

China supports tech platform companies' innovation and international competitiveness, but antitrust and fair-competition rules "are the inherent requirements for improving the socialist market economic system," according to the statement.

Laws and regulations will be "optimized" to identify platform monopolies, Xinhua reports.

The work conference is held each December to chart China's economic direction for the following year. With the Chinese economy expected to roar back to life in 2021, Xi looks to protect small businesses and households while preventing overheating in the real estate market and other sectors.

Alibaba Group Holding and its peers use aggressive discounts to expand their customer bases, which Beijing believes is placing excessive pressure on manufacturers and mom-and-pop shops. 

China's planners are drafting new legislation on data use and consumer protections as well.

Financial technology also appears likely for greater scrutiny. China has seen an influx of newcomers into the financial sector from other industries, notably Alibaba's digital payments unit Ant Group.

"Financial innovation must be advanced under prudent supervision," the statement said.

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