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The rapidly changing investor calculus on China’s tech giants

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As wave after wave of regulatory crackdowns have dominated China tech news in 2021, one can be excused for losing track of what is being regulated, who is doing the regulating, and what exactly the regulations are. From fintech to data management to education, the rules of the game are being re-written by a range of agencies, often at a rate faster than all but the keenest observers can follow.
For antitrust, a newly-empowered bureaucratic entity appears to be sending the signal that we are only at the beginning of a large-scale reorganization of how Chinese internet firms interact with consumers, vendors, and the state. Formed only three years ago as a merger of already-existing agencies, the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) has quickly become a force to be reckoned with, reshaping how companies view risk and opportunity in the market with the world’s most internet users.
Having already levied hefty fines on the likes of Alibaba and Meituan, recent d …

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