When Pony Mae, head of Chinese Internet powerhouse Tencent, attended a group meeting with Premier Li Keqiang in 2014, he said many local governments had banned ride-sharing apps installed on smartphones.

Mr. Lee immediately asked some ministers to investigate the matter and report back to them. He then turned to Mr. Ma and said, “Your example vividly demonstrates the need to improve the relationship between government and the market.”

By then, Tencent had invested 45 45 million in a ride-sharing start-up called Didi Chuxing, which later became a model under government pressure to digitize and modernize traditional industries. When President Xi Jinping met with global tech leaders in Seattle in 2015, Didi’s founder, Cheng Wei, then joined the 32-year-old, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Mr. Ma at the gathering.

But over the past year, relations between Beijing and the tech sector have been strained. Didi is now the target of government regulatory wrath. In the days following the company’s initial public offering fur in New York last month, Chinese regulators pulled its apps from the App Stores in a bid to protect national data security and the public interest.

At the heart of Didi Fiasco, and largely China’s increasingly aggressive anti-trust campaign, is the question of what Beijing expects from private enterprises. The answer is much more complicated than in the United States or Europe.

China’s Big Tech has as much power in the national economy as the American tech giants. Like their American counterparts, Chinese companies have been seen to engage in hostile practices that harm consumers, merchants and small businesses. It is subject to scrutiny and regulation to prevent any misuse of power.

But, it is important to keep in mind that Chinese tech companies are increasingly operating in a country ruled by a democratic government that seeks the surrender of the private sector with integrity to the whole sector. So unlike the anti-trust campaigns by European and American officials in their territories, China is using the excuse of distrust to gain a monopoly on the power of the Communist Party, private businesses are likely to lose their independence and it will only become an appendix. State.

Benjamin Qiu, a partner at Hong Kong-based law firm and Loeb, said the development in Didi was “a magnitude of the kind of shock that shocks.” “With effective data nationalization as a result we can see more control by the state.”

Americans and Europeans, who understandably are frustrated by the lack of progress of their regulators in the big tech farce, should not be too impressed by how fast Beijing is bringing its tech titans. Like many things in China, efficiency comes at the expense of the law and due process.

The Communist Party made it clear last year that it needed “politically sensitive people” in the private sector who would “definitely listen to the party and abide by it.” They should contribute more to the longevity of the Communist Party and help make China great again, the party said.

The message, people in the tech industry said, is that businesses need to prove that they are useful and helpful in advancing government goals while avoiding trouble.

These people said that Didi did not pay attention to the message. They were surprised that Didi rejected the objections of some regulators and rushed into her IPO in the current regulatory environment.

For some government officials, Didi’s U.S. The list was “Yang Feng Yin Wei” – to follow in public, but also to ignore in private. The choice of word is unfolding because this sentence is often used to describe the betrayal of a subordinate.

“At a moment like this, Internet companies that are ‘politically incorrect’ will only have one final accomplishment,” Internet consultant and investor Li Chengdong wrote of Didi in a social media post.

For companies, it’s helpful to know Beijing’s priorities. Locally, it aims to reduce inequality and promote what the party calls “collective prosperity.” Internationally, it is managing geopolitical tensions with the United States.

As China’s economic growth slows and opportunities dwindle, the country’s growing inequality is becoming a time bomb in the eyes of the party, which is wary of social unrest and skepticism about its legitimacy. And while tech companies are increasingly being blamed for wealth gaps, their founders are being criticized as villains who take advantage of customers and force their employees to work longer hours.

Beijing was not happy last year when some major internet companies invested heavily in applications selling vegetables to local residents. That’s because apps can replace mom-p-p vegetables where many low-income people make a living.

He also went to Beijing after Ant Group, a financial technology giant controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, partly because he believes the ants have made it much easier for young people to take out personal loans, building social discontent.

The government has also cracked down on the education online education industry, with officials believing it is profitable to make a profit on parental discomfort. This, in turn, has increased the cost of raising children, thus jeopardizing Beijing’s new policy of encouraging couples to have more than one child.

In April, a government official spent 12 hours as a food distribution worker, making just 6. Which puts off widespread discussions about how plat online platforms misbehave with their workers.

Tencent, Didi and e-commerce giant Alibaba, known as “platform” companies, are now second-class citizens in the eyes of the government, a Beijing-based venture capitalist told me. (First-class companies develop “real” technologies such as semiconductors and artificial intelligence that could help China become more technologically independent.) For the government, the platform has a lot of users, a lot of data, a lot of capital and even a lot of power. , He said.

Over the past six months, tech giants and some star entrepreneurs have pledged their allegiance and made moves with money and resignations. Tencent announced in April that it would spend 7. 8.78 billion on green space, education and village rejuvenation.

In April, four days later Mr. Shi visited his alma mater, Tsinghua University in Beijing, Wang Xing, founder of the food-delivery company Metuan, and a graduate of Tsinghua, the founding father of the university. In June, Mr. Wang donated more than 2 2 billion worth of shares to his foundation.

Colin Huang, founder of e-commerce platform Pindudio, said in March that he would step down to pave the way for the next pay generation. He is 41 years old and has recently been declared the second richest person in China.

In May, Zhang Yaming, 38, founder of ticketing parent company Bytens, announced that he would resign as chief executive. A month later, he unveiled a 77 77 million donation to set up an education foundation in his hometown. The Wall Street Journal also reported that it granted asylum after a meeting with Bytens’s IPO plans regulators in March.

A business unit at Tencent said last month that its employees would now leave the fees by 6pm on Wednesdays and 9pm on other weekdays. Byte ance Nase announced this month that it would eliminate the requirement to work on Saturdays every other week, a common practice in many Chinese companies.

After Didi’s crash, similar announcements kept coming. E-commerce platform JD.com said on Tuesday that it would increase the average annual salary of its employees from 14 months to 16 months. On Friday, Lei Jun, founder of smartphone maker Xiaomi, donated more than 2 billion worth of shares to the Bay Foundation.

What is it about the distrust of all these actions and the power of the Big Tech? Not very straightforward. But companies and entrepreneurs are effectively telling the government that they know who the master is and that they need to do things that at least they know will reduce social inequality and dissatisfaction.

Another “sin” Didi commitment is that it was made public in New York at a time when geopolitical tensions between China and the United States are intensifying and both countries are fighting for technological dominance.

There is a growing concern in China that if bilateral relations deteriorate, many tech companies, backed by Western venture capital companies and listed in New York, could become economic pawns. China has announced that it will submit to a cybersecurity checkup before domestic tech companies list their stocks abroad, which could potentially thwart IP IPO plans.

“China needs to be prepared for the worst case scenario,” commented Jeong Weizo, a Weibo user, on his verified Weibo account. “It could be a war with Taiwan or sanctions by the US and Europe. Important Chinese companies do not become under the softening of the country.