Discover more from Pekingnology
Which Chinese company landed on Internet regulator's flagship magazine
Elon Musk is also getting on the good side of China Cyberspace
China Media Project reported in January
The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), the central agency for internet control and regulation, announced on its official WeChat account on January 5 that New Media (网络传播), the agency’s flagship monthly magazine on internet policy that literally translates “internet communication,” will be renamed in Chinese. The magazine’s new name will be “China Cyberspace” (中国网信), which more directly references the name of the agency itself.
In its notice of the change, the CAC said the magazine would focus hitherto on the “deeper study and application of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era,” as well as readings of the work and policy decisions of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, led by Xi, and general knowledge about cyberspace – all supporting “the building of a cyber power” (网络强国).
The newly-branded publication, overseen by the CAC, will be published by the China Academy of Cyberspace (网络空间研究院), a so-called “new think tank” created in 2015 that regularly supports research on various aspects of internet policy and regulation.
The first issue of China Cyberspace came out in March
Zhuang Rongwen, deputy minister of the Central Publicity Department, director of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission General Office, and director of the CAC, wrote the inaugural message.
Part of the inaugural message
It is hoped that through the joint efforts of all parties, China Cyberspace will become a forum for thoughts on learning and publicizing the implementation of the Party's innovative theories, an important channel for publicizing and interpreting the major decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, and a platform of exchanges for deepening theoretical research, scientific and technological innovation and practical activities in the field of cyberspace.
But China Cyberspace doesn’t have a dedicated site in cyberspace, so except for subscribing for a paper copy at the price of 420 yuan ($62) a year, the best way to follow it is through the magazine’s official WeChat blog, which would publish one article out of the magazine at a time.
And I was intrigued if there were any other tech companies that achieved this feat. Upon a bit of digging, they include:
Zhou Hongyi of 360 Group, a cybersecurity firm;
Pony Ma of Tencent and Fan Yuan of AnHeng Group, a cybersecurity firm;
Zhang Yong of Alibaba and Qi Xiangdong of QI-ANXIN Technology Group, a cybersecurity firm;
Eric Xiandong Jing of Ant Group.
Surprisingly, Elon Musk - yes, you read it right, Elon Musk - also has an article on the latest issue.
Since China Cyberspace doesn’t have a presence in cyberspace and its WeChat blog hasn’t published Musk’s article, its very existence is practically unknown to the world until this newsletter, despite being published in July.
Upon the tip from yours truly, Yang Liu, of the Beijing Channel substack, got his hand on a paper copy of the 4th issue of China Cyberspace and will soon tell you all about it. If you haven’t subscribed to Beijing Channel, do it now so you don’t miss his scoop.
Despite being standard corporate PR/GR material, the article is still a pretty good example of how a Chinese Big Tech company talks to its key regulator, in that Ant Group tries
aligning the company business with the national strategy, such as invoking its digital inclusion to allude to China’s promotion of common prosperity;
showing deference to the regulators’ determination to dismantle “walled gardens”;
emphasizing its role in empowering cross-border trade, the rare and therefore key bright spot in recent economic data;
highlighting its contribution to China’s net-zero ambitions.
(The emphasis below is the magazine’s, not mine.)
Eric Xiandong Jing: For bringing small and beautiful changes to the world
Digitalization is both an opportunity and a responsibility provided by the times. Ant Group has always been committed to serving small and micro enterprises, serving economic development with science and technology, and bringing small and beautiful changes to the world. With the support of national policies, Ant Group has taken part in the digital practice in many fields and contributed its strength in digital technology services such as real economy, digital public services, and digital anti-epidemic [efforts]. We realize that the digital economy can only be meaningful if it is integrated with the real economy, and the digital economy can only create value if it solves problems in society.
We will insist on inclusion and pursuing open and safe digitalization.
The goal of digital development is universal benefits for all. Digitalization is not a label for companies in cyberspace, but a heavy responsibility. Innovation of digital technology, driving the society to improve the level of digitalization so that every individual and small and micro enterprises in need can share the achievements of digitalization - they are the development goal of companies in cyberspace and the direction of digitalization development.
The conceptualization of digital development is openness and sharing. The Internet is not only a technology but more a conceptualization. Digital technology needs to encourage innovation in competition, but cannot deviate from the basic spirit of openness and sharing. It’s necessary to build an open and shared digital ecosystem and facilitate circulation of production factors, healthy and orderly competition, continuous and active innovation, and effective bridging of the digital divide.
The safeguard of digital development is data security. In recent years, the state has successively issued a series of laws and regulations on Internet security and data security. Practitioners in cyberspace should pay more attention to Internet security and data security, consciously safeguard national security and public interests, and pay attention to protecting citizens' legitimate rights and interests such as personal privacy. In addition, it is necessary to strengthen technological research and seek breakthroughs in areas involving security protection such as privacy computing.
We will firmly adhere to innovating on the basis of what has worked in the past, serving the digitalization of small and micro enterprises.
It is crucial to develop the digital economy, promote high-quality economic and social development, and fully mobilize the endogenous power of enterprises' digital transformation, especially to fully release the vitality of the vast number of small and micro enterprises.
Assisting the digital operation of small and micro businesses in service industry. There are tens of millions of small and micro businesses in our country, but only a small part of them have achieved digital operation. In the process of serving the digitalization of small and micro businesses, Ant Group has realized that developing and strengthening the third-party technology service market, forming a diversified enterprise digitalization service supply system, and providing small and micro businesses with easy-to-use and inexpensive digitalization tools are important ways to help address the insufficient supply of domestic industry digitalization technology and promote the digitalization of small and micro businesses in the service industry. At present, practitioners including Ant Group are exploring comprehensive solutions such as Internet of Things, mini apps, and commercial SaaS [software as a service].
Serving the digital upgrading of small and medium-sized financial institutions. Compared with the investment of large financial institutions in digitalization, small and medium-sized financial institutions are facing challenges in terms of talents, resources, and technology. Therefore, it is very important to help small and medium-sized financial institutions achieve digitalization upgrades as soon as possible and build safer, more efficient, and healthier financial services. At present, small and medium-sized financial institutions urgently need to enhance their scientific and technological capabilities in risk management and digital operation. Ant Group is actively participating in the technological upgrading in these areas and striving to become a service provider and facilitator for small and medium-sized financial institutions.
Creating an open ecosystem of digital collaboration. Platform companies [Pekingnology: Chinese government’s term for Big Tech] can make use of their own development experience to help small and micro enterprises in the service industry to rapidly promote digitalization and build a mutually beneficial, win-win, and open and inclusive service ecosystem. The deeper digital development, the more critical it is to create new value through industrial collaboration. In the future, emerging technologies such as cloud computing, blockchains, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence will empower more efficient and credible technological solutions for the industrial Internet, create a more open and inclusive ecosystem, and promote more industrial collaboration and value creation.
Promote the digital transformation of global cross-border services. In the past few years, traditional foreign trade has accelerated its transformation to e-commerce, with a large number of entrepreneurs and small and micro enterprises actively expanding overseas markets with the help of digital technology, becoming "micro multinational enterprises". At the same time, these cross-border trade orders are characterized by small amount, large quantities, and fragmentation, which brings new challenges to cross-border trade participants. Over the years, Ant Group, as well as many of its peers, has explored a set of solutions to serve the cross-border payment and digital operation of small and micro enterprises through technological innovation and linkage between home and abroad, enabling cross-border trade to digitalize.
We will stick to our original aspiration and let more people share the fruits of digital development.
Digitalization promotes the rapid transformation and upgrading of industries. At the same time, attention should be paid to the problem of uneven and insufficient development. Today, we are facing new tasks and new topics such as digital inclusion and the coordination between digitalization and going green. That is also the test paper of the times that companies in cyberspace must answer well. Ant Group's sustainability development report for 2021 puts forward the formulation of its ESG development strategy to assist in the sustainable development of society, which is digital inclusion, green and low carbon development, technological innovation, and open ecosystem.
Since 2021, Ant Group has carried out more than 18,000 "blue vest" activities to promote public interest in more than 70 cities across the country, diving deep into communities to help senior citizens understand and experience digitalization, and let more people share the fruits of digital development.
Ant Group focuses on serving small and micro enterprises in rural areas and helps the national rural revitalization strategy. They include reducing the cost of financial services for small and micro-sized enterprises by making the withdrawal of funds free of charge and lowering interest rates; Promoting rural economic development through loans targeting science and technology in agriculture, improving transparency of agricultural products through blockchain-based origins tracing, and empowering agricultural projects on Alipay; Through the establishment of the rural science and technology development and innovation fund, focusing on rural digital upgrading.
Ant Group actively responds to the national "dual carbon" strategy and continues to invest in green development. Over the past six years, Ant Forest has planted more than 326 million trees in areas with weak ecological foundations and is expanding into the field of marine ecological restoration. In April 2022, Ant Group announced that it had achieved carbon neutrality in its own operations in 2021. At the same time, it is actively promoting the innovative application of blockchain and other technologies in the field of green development.
Since its establishment, Ant Group began with a payment instrument and insisted on serving small and micro enterprises, continuously promoted scientific and technological innovation, assisted digital development, and worked hard to create value for society. In the future, Ant Group will, as always, 守正创新 adhere to innovating on the basis of what has worked in the past, devote itself to scientific research and tackling key problems, serve the real economy, better serve the overall economic and social development of the country, and contribute to promoting universal, inclusive, and sustainable digital development.