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Elon Musk And Big Tech CEOs Praise Chinese Government At Internet Conference Amid Regulatory Crackdown

Photo by Mark Schiefelbein via Getty Images

Jack Greenberg Contributor
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk and other Big Tech executives praised Chinese regulatory practices at the 2021 World Internet Conference amid the Chinese Communist Party’s strengthened grip on the economy.

The seventh annual Chinese government-sponsored World Internet Conference started Sunday in East China’s Zhejiang Province. The event featured prominent Chinese and American CEOs, including Tesla founder Elon Musk who delivered opening ceremony remarks in a pre-recorded statement.

Musk geared his speech to the conference’s theme, “Towards a New Era of Digital Civilization.” He first discussed the positive impact of advancements in digital technologies like artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles while praising China as “a global leader in digitalization.”

Musk took a conciliatory stance toward Chinese regulatory policy, saying that data security “is not only closely linked to an individual’s interests, but also matters to the whole society.” The billionaire said that Tesla is “glad to see a number of laws and regulations that have been released to strengthen data management” and pledged further expansion of investment and research and development efforts in China.

Musk also said that data protection “should be a mutual effort for all industry players” and that “Tesla hopes to contribute to building a digitized future of shared benefits, responsibilities, and governance.”(RELATED: Here’s Why So Many Celebrities And Business Leaders Are Praising The CCP)

Musk has cooperated with the CCP to have continued access to Chinese markets, according to the Wall Street Journal, which are responsible for $6.66 billion or 21% of Tesla’s sales in 2020. Other global multinational corporations and Chinese companies have been forced to yield to the CCP lest they lose access to China’s one billion consumers.

After Alibaba founder Jack Ma criticized CCP regulatory practices in October of 2020, Beijing forced China’s version of Amazon to pay a $2.75 billion fine before squeezing its administrative grip on the entire Chinese tech sector. The CCP has since launched anti-monopoly investigations into Alibaba that shuttered its affiliate Ant Group’s $37 billion IPO, forced ride sharing company Didi to stop user registration amid a cybersecurity review and limited video game time for young people to three hours a week. China’s two top tech giants Alibaba and Tencent have lost $330 billion in combined market cap since 2020.

Jing Xiandong, CEO of Ant Group, said at the conference that the goal of the Chinese government is to promote “common prosperity” through economic development that can be pursued through increased digitalization, according to Chinese state-run Global Times. Alibaba Public Affairs Chief Wen Jia said that Alibaba would assign “social responsibility tasks” to all employees due to its impact not only on the company but also on Chinese society writ large.

The conference, which featured Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai in 2017, showcased a taped statement from Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger similar to Musk’s. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon commended China’s 5G roll-out speed at the event’s Opening Ceremonies.