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Why China Is Changing Its Tone on Business


China’s leader, Xi Jinping, used his annual New Year’s Eve address in 2021 to laud the patriotic achievements of the Chinese people. In a year marked by crackdowns on tech companies, curbs on borrowing by the country’s property firms, and a refusal to budge on restrictive Covid policies, Mr. Xi made no direct mention of the economy or business.In the first minute of his most recent address, Mr. Xi extolled the country’s economy, still the world’s second largest, and explained that China had cut taxes and fees as well as introducing measures “to ease the burden on businesses.” A few weeks earlier at a meeting to lay out policy objectives for 2023, Mr. Xi and other top leaders expressed the need to bolster the economy and pledged support for the private sector.The disciplinarian of China Inc. has turned cheerlea …

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