China Bets on Common Prosperity
In 2021, China embarked in a new direction with sweeping regulatory and enforcement measures to combat monopolization, protect data security, and ensure greater social equality. Though significant risks lie ahead, the country's economy nonetheless is coming of age.
LONDON – The year 2021 marked the start of a new paradigm for the Chinese economy. China is shifting from a model championing GDP growth above all to one emphasizing efficiency, consumer welfare and protection, climate-change mitigation, and environmental protection. Chinese companies’ growth will be less unbridled and more regulated and monitored. The goal of building a global manufacturing powerhouse has evolved into the pursuit of techno-nationalism. China’s leaders believe their country is on the verge of a transformation into a truly “modern socialist economy.”
China is not alone. Regardless of what epithet they apply to their respective political systems, and despite bilateral tensions, China and the West are facing some similar challenges. Both are confronting increasing income disparities, the boundless growth of Big Tech firms, and a deepening divide between elites and the grassroots. But unlike the rest of the world, China has decided to tackle these issues head on.
Over the course of 2021, the Chinese government took 20-30 major steps to regulate and discipline an array of leading corporations, ranging from consumer-facing platform companies to education firms. The grounds for these interventions were antitrust, data security, and social equality – and sometimes all three at once.