Tech Entrepreneurs A Growing Force At China’s Communist Party Meeting

Entrepreneurship has never been more popular in China, or apparently with the Communist Party. After President Xi Jinping encouraged entrepreneurship at the 19th Congress of Communist Party last October, more tech entrepreneurs have been selected as Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) members, the nation’s most powerful political advisory body.

New faces at this year’s annual meeting of the CPPCC include the CEO of China’s second-largest retailer JD.com Richard Liu, CEO of NetEase Ding Lei, CEO of the Internet security firm Qihoo360 Zhou Hongwei, CEO of online marketplace 58.co Yao Jinbo, and Wang Xiaochuan, CEO of China’s second largest search engine Sogou Inc.

Returning CPPCC members from the tech world include Tencent’s founder Pony Ma, Baidu’s CEO Li Yanhong, Lenovo’s CEO Yang Yuanqing and Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun.

Some of the these entrepreneurs have brought proposals for using technology to enhance both Chinese business and society. Baidu’s Li proposed building more open-source AI platforms to accelerate industrial growth, and urged China to come up with autonomous driving laws soon and to improve data security for autonomous driving.

Lenovo’s Yang proposed developing Beijing as a "City of AI" and use AI as the new growth driver. He also advocated using big data in medical treatment, such as big data in hospitals and sharing information among hospitals and encouraging wearable devices for patients.

Tecent’s Ma urged China to upgrade its Internet infrastructure, including an industrial cloud, to support digitization of traditional industries. He also proposed electronic identification for residents in the Greater Bay Area covering Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province. He said mainland travel permits of residents in Hong Kong and Macau should be linked to their mobile phone to enable mobile payments.

JD.com’s Liu proposed to fight poverty in rural China with e-commerce. He said agricultural products are not competitive because producers are small and products are not standardized. Also, due to the poor infrastructure, it is difficult to build logistics centers in rural areas. He called for more government support for agricultural products.

According to a report by Hurun Research Institute, known for its "Hurun China Rich List," 79 of the 2,158 CPPCC members are on Hurun’s Rich List. Tencent’s Ma tops the list with a net worth of RMB295 billion (US$46 billion) while Xiaomi’s Lei ranks third with net worth of RMB100 billion (US$15.8 billion).

The report noted that three of the five wealthiest new CPPCC members are from the tech world: NetEase’s Ding Lei, JD.com’s Richard Liu, and Qihoo360’s Zhou Hongwei.

China will do more in implementing the innovation-driven development strategy and keep on making the Chinese economy more innovative and competitive, Premier Li Keqiang said Monday when delivering a government work report at the annual parliamentary session.

 

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