back to article China requires 'self-correction' of monopolistic behaviour by 34 local web giants

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation has warned 34 local web “platforms” to make sure they comply with local laws, and take care not to adopt western startups' aggressive tactics, or they may suffer the same kind of smackdowns recently inflicted on Alibaba. A notice from the Administration (SAMR) reveals that it …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Can you imagine a Western government trying to do that? They would have to shoot all the lawyers first, to have chance of it going through in any form in less than a decade.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Meh

      It still wouldn't work. The missing bit here is that "the full force of the law" does not include the company's senior exec disappearing, never to be seen again.

      Amazing what good you can do as a government, if you are totalitarian fascists.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        if you are totalitarian fascists.

        In this case totalitarian communists.

        Not that it changes much, two sides of the same coin - just to remind that.

        Still, in such kind of governments, rules can always be bent if the Dear Leader has some darlings.

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: if you are totalitarian fascists.

          China has been a communist country for some time now, despite what it says on the headed note paper.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: if you are totalitarian fascists.

            How is the word "not" so incredibly important for conveying meaning, and yet at the same time so incredibly easy to forget?

            I swear an absent "not" (or typo'd to "now") must be one of the most common typographical mistakes people make!

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: if you are totalitarian fascists.

          Karl Marx would not recognize China as a communist country at this point. The gap between China and the US/UK in communism vs capitalism is a tiny fraction of the size of the gap between China and the US/UK in totalitarianism.

          And that's saying something, considering how the totalitarianism in both the US and UK continues to increase by the decade (with an attempt to go all on totalitarianism in by the former US president fortunately foiled)

          1. LDS Silver badge

            Re: if you are totalitarian fascists.

            Marx maybe not, Stalin would recognize it and be really envious.

            He wasn't able to lure Western countries to send them all that technology to copy, only Britons were so fool to send him their jet engines blueprints and some models to copy.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: if you are totalitarian fascists.

              No, Stalin wouldn't recognize it either. China is basically free market capitalism with the government owning a chunk of the capitalist companies and having a say in decisions about their direction as a major stockholder. If a company toes the government line where required they are more free to do what they want than companies in the US are (much to the unhappiness of republicans, who think all government regulations are by definition bad and wish they were free to do things regulations prevent like pollute, ignore worker safety, and so on to the degree Chinese companies can)

              What exactly is "communist" about anything in China, other than them calling it communist? I mean, North Korea calls itself a "democratic people's republic" when it is none of those, so don't take what they call themselves so literally.

              The only thing about China Stalin would be envious of is their control and surveillance of the population. That's totalitarianism, not communism, and is something that some in the US seem to be pretty envious of as well, given our former president's oft-mentioned love and envy for dictators.

              1. Claverhouse Silver badge

                Re: if you are totalitarian fascists.

                Stalin went along with Lenin's New Economic Policy.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That does happen but it doesn't apply to this case.

        "A commentary published in the state-run People’s Daily minutes after the Alibaba announcement called such regulation “a kind of love and care.”" [NYT]

        Jack Ma is alive, well, and free.

        Contrast to how Amazon Shopping Portal can market counterfeited and/or defective goods with impunity, protected by section 230, while brick and mortar would incur liability for doing the same. Worse, Amazon have used their impunity to leverage sellers with the threat of marketing conterfeit copies of their goods:

        "In PopSockets’ case, its hit product—a collapsible handle that attaches to smartphones—was contending with counterfeits on Amazon, said Mr. Barnett, the CEO. For more than a year, the Boulder, Colo., company made regular complaints to Amazon about the fakes, he said. It asked for its products to be “gated” on Amazon’s site, which would require resellers of PopSockets products to be vetted for authenticity. Amazon repeatedly turned PopSockets down, he said. n 2017, Mr. Barnett flew to Seattle to meet with Amazon. The executives in the meeting offered a solution, he said: If PopSockets agreed to spend $1.8 million on marketing on Amazon, it would gate the company’s products. He said Amazon never puts the terms in writing. “It’s always implemented during phone calls, or in person, but never in emails,” he said. Mr. Barnett said he agreed to Amazon’s terms and the counterfeits disappeared immediately." --- WSJ, 'How Amazon Strong-Arms Partners Using Its Power Across Multiple Businesses '

        Congress wouldn't need to disappear Bozos to un-apply Section 230 to online sales portals - which has nothing to do with speech. Both parties have had majorities over the past 10 years when they could have passed such legislation. That they haven't done so is due to Amazon's strong lobbying power - legislators were bought.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Can you imagine a Western government trying to do that? They would have to shoot all the lawyers first, to have chance of it going through in any form in less than a decade.

      In a western government it'd never happen because our laws are a mess with a mountain of exploitable loopholes. The loopholes are there not because of incompetence, but because the legislators have been bribed to make the laws weak, with exploitable loopholes.

      The bribery is allowed because the politicians are the legislators and they write the laws governing their own behaviour, and what politician is going to willingly write a law banning people giving them money? Politicians generally do not go into politics with tuppence and come out as multi millionaires due to their pay packets.

      If legalised bribery and corruption in the guise of "lobbying" (ie; free holidays with spending money, free bar tabs etc dressed up as fact finding tours and all of the other tricks such as paid member of the board of directors of corruption inc) ceased to exist then so would the blocks to writing a clear set of coherent laws without a thousand loopholes.

      If our deliberately unenforceable laws went then so would the problems with enforcement.

      1. Irony Deficient Bronze badge

        what politician is going to willingly write a law banning people giving them money?

        Depending upon how one interprets “giving”, it happens occasionally. For example, in 1871, the pay for a member of the US Congress was $7,500 per annum; in 1874, they reduced their own pay to $5,000 per annum, likely as a reaction to the Panic of 1873. More recently (and less significantly), Congress has voted annually since 2010 to not accept cost of living increases to their pay. Their salaries have thus remained nominally unchanged since 2009, which in 2021 is effectively an 18.5% pay decrease in 2009 dollars through 12 years of inflation.

        Politicians generally do not go into politics with tuppence and come out as multi millionaires due to their pay packets.

        Generally, no, but it is theoretically possible. For example, with the current (i.e. 2009 level) Congressional pay of $174,000 per annum, a four-term senator or twelve-term representative can gross $4,176,000 over 24 years. If that politician can set aside $84,000 per year from 24 years of pay packets, a USD multimillionaire will emerge.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          This is why I always convert my salary and money into Japanese yen, I easily earn over 1 million there (as do most of the uk)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So, no politician for almost 150 years then?

          1. Irony Deficient Bronze badge

            So, no politician for almost 150 years then?

            If you believe that only US politicians could refuse money, and if you believe that the two examples above were the only instances of them refusing money (e.g. setting aside two reductions of Congressional salaries during the Great Depression), and if you ignore the second example above of consecutive annual refusals of salary increases by Congress since 2010, then sure — no politician for almost 150 years.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      That is the problem, on the one side, this is sorely needed, on the other side, this is the Chinese government doing this and they have ulterior motives as well.

      Western big tech has become too powerful for this to happen in any meaningful way. They are detrimental to society in many ways, but we also find it hard to get by without them these days. They are also worth a lot more than most countries, given that the many countries are essentially bankrupt.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh how I wish this could happen in the western countries, the world would be a much better place. Instead the west just pontificates to the likes of China, while 'Big Corp' continues to shaft everyone in the west and everywhere else that they can, and have ever increasing power over the gov't itself. That's not democracy.

    1. HildyJ Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Too true. The US, is trending towards an oligarchy where interfering with the oligarchs' business practices and profits are non starters.

      In this case (and in other recent economic regulatory moves), just because they're Communists, doesn't make them wrong.

      1. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

        For example, in controlling a certain virus... Even though they have impinged upon people liberties to a degree - possibly quite a significant degree - they did manage to contain a virus where the vast majority of Western nations have failed.

  3. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The [ Closed ] Source of All Their Greatness

    Microsoft's head would explode at these insolent demands.

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