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    China’s Big Tech companies revive expansion plans after Beijing vows to give the green light on more deals, ends regulatory crackdown


    China’s Big Tech companies are ramping up plans for potential new acquisitions and accelerating recruitment initiatives after a wave of lay-offs last year, as Beijing’s pledge to give the green light on more technology deals and the end of a 32-month regulatory crackdown have put the industry back in expansion mode.

    The country’s major internet platform operators “are now in a position to keep investing in new development programmes”, said Zhuang Shuai, founder and chief analyst at market consultancy Bailian.

    The reinvigorated state of the tech sector is currently reflected in the increased recruitment efforts of several large firms.

    On-demand local services giant Meituan, which runs the country’s leading food delivery platform, on Monday announced 6,000 new positions in the firm that are open to fresh graduates. This marked a 20 per cent increase from the 5,000 vacancies it had last year.

    Meituan riders are seen on their way to deliver takeaway food to customers on a street in Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province, on February 23, 2023. Photo: Elson Li

    Kuaishou Technology, operator of China’s No 2 short video app, last month announced more than 200 roles that are open at the firm, while miHoYo, the video gaming studio behind international hit Genshin Impact, has 130 new vacancies to fill, according to its recruitment website.

    Those hiring programmes follow similar initiatives launched in the past few months by the likes of TikTok owner ByteDanceJD.comPinduoduo operator PDD and Alibaba Group Holding, owner of the South China Morning Post.

    While many Big Tech companies cut their payroll by the thousands last year amid the pandemic-hit economy and Beijing’s regulatory crackdown, these enterprises remain some of the largest employers for the country’s workforce of 880 million, according to a report last month by venture capital firm CyanHill Capital.

    The energised tech industry in China underscores the impact of Beijing’s pro-growth policy for Big Tech firms to resume their expansion.

    China’s Politburo signals fresh support for country’s Big Tech companies

    The Chinese Communist Party’s seven-member Politburo Standing Committee, the country’s highest policymaking body, last month said the nation will “promote the standardised, healthy and sustainable development of [internet] platform enterprises”.

    Last month, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, endorsed the investment projects of 10 leading internet platform companies, which Beijing considers essential to fuelling growth and creating jobs.

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    That policy move comes at a time when China’s unemployment rate among its urban youth (16-24 years old) keeps touching new highs, including an all-time record of 21.3 per cent in June, according to official figures. Meanwhile, nearly 11.6 million college graduates are set to enter the country’s workforce later this year.

    Analyst Zhuang from consultancy Bailian, however, indicated that the government’s policy support for the tech industry currently exists only on paper. He said concrete measures, including low-interest loans from financial institutions and tax relief, are expected to be pursued to ensure a return to growth for the industry.