China’s top economic official gave an unusual public show of support for digital platform companies Tuesday, suggesting Beijing may be ready to let up on a year-long clampdown on technology giants as it battles a slowing economy.
The government will support the development of digital economy companies and their public listings, Vice Premier Liu He, who is President Xi Jinping’s most senior economic aide, said after a symposium with the heads of some of the nation’s largest private firms. Baidu Inc founder Robin Li, Qihoo 360 Technology Co’s Zhou Hongyu and NetEase Inc chief William Ding were among the tech luminaries spotted at the forum, according to a video posted online.
Liu’s remarks reported by state media were short on detail but signal further easing of the regulatory risk for China’s technology behemoths including Baidu and Tencent Holdings, as investors await clues on whether a rout in their shares is near an end. The Hang Seng Tech Index rallied as much as 6% Tuesday on optimism the meeting would affirm Beijing’s intention to dial back some of its restrictions.