Content-driven Chinese Internet firms continue to face curbs

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 13, 2019 16:20 hrs

Beijing, July 13 (IANS) Fintech, gaming and content-driven Internet companies continue to face tight restrictions by government authorities in China, says a new report.

Out of China's 1.4 billion population, the number of people using the Internet reached 829 million - 60 per cent of the total population, according to the "China Internet Report 2019" published by research firm Abacus and the Alibaba-owned South China Morning Post newspaper.

The Chinese government suspended licensing for new games for nine months last year, causing the gaming industry to experience its slowest revenue growth in over a decade.

In January 2018, the Cyberspace Administration of China scrubbed the web of more than seven million items, deleting more than 9,300 smartphone apps to screen out information deemed inappropriate or harmful, the findings showed.

Among the top trends for 2019 identified by the report include China's racing ahead with 5G, the country using Artificial Intelligence (AI) on a massive scale and social credit becoming a reality.

The researchers found that global technology companies are replicating successful models from their Chinese counterparts.

These models include a Super App - a one-stop shop for services from shopping to ride hailing to money transfers to flight bookings. Chinese companies such as ByteDance have been the first to turn the short video concept into a success.

China's online shopping giants and start-ups have pioneered concepts such as group buying and live streaming, said the report.

AI has been used in the country for various purposes including, surveillance, traffic control, catching criminals and controlling crowds.

Millions of individuals and businesses have been labelled as untrustworthy on a growing blacklist compiled by China's courts, restricting them from a number of activities, including accessing financial markets or travelling by air and high-speed rail.

As of the end of March 2019, a total of 13.5 million people have been classified as untrustworthy, according to China's National Development and Reform Commission.

--IANS

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