China Boosts Government Presence At Alibaba, Private Giants

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The government of one of China’s top technology hubs is dispatching officials to 100 local corporations including e-commerce giant Alibaba, the latest effort to exert greater influence over the country’s massive private sector. Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, is assigning government affairs representatives to facilitate communication and expedite projects, the city government said on its website. Chinese beverage giant Hangzhou Wahaha and automaker Zhejiang Geely are among the other companies based in the prosperous region that have been singled out, according to reports in state media.

The Hangzhou government said the initiative was aimed at smoothing work flow between officials and China’s high-tech companies and manufacturers. But the move could be perceived also as an effort to keep tabs on a non state-owned sector that’s gaining clout as a prime driver of the world’s No. 2 economy. Representatives of the country’s public security system are already embedded within China’s largest internet companies, responsible for crime prevention and stamping out false rumors. Government agencies may also be heightening their monitoring of the vast private sector at a time China’s economy is decelerating — raising the prospect of destabilizing job cuts as enterprises try to protect bottom lines. Alibaba is hosting its annual investors’ conference this week in Hangzhou against the backdrop of a worsening outlook for the country.