Tencent Holdings’ billionaire co-founder, Pony Ma, shared a post on social media about China’s weakening economy under the stringent Zero-Covid strategy.
The article titled “Nobody cares about the economy except for Hu Xijin” paints a bleak economic picture of China amid the government’s implementation of Covid control. The short segment accused Chinese Internet users of taking online service providers like Tencent for granted, saying netizens would rather see those businesses go bankrupt than conduct layoffs or let their staff work overtime. The tech giant’s CEO commented, “This is a really vivid description.” This has raised a new discussion about the economy under strict lockdown.
Hu Xijin is one of the best-known defenders of China’s policies, the outspoken former editor-in-chief of nationalist tabloid Global Times. His WeChat post suggests that the economic costs of containing the virus shouldn’t exceed the public-health benefits. Hu said the national government should “either make low-cost containment work or tell the truth to the entire Chinese society” if the virus worsens in the capital.
Supporting Hu Xijin’s voices over the Zero-Covid measure, the tech giant’s CEO shows frustration after his company struggled to grow during the first quarter. According to South China Morning Post, the Chinese internet titan recorded a revenue of 135.5 billion yuan (US$20.37 billion) in the first quarter of 2022 – a minuscule increase from 135.3 billion (US$20.34 billion) yuan last year.
A user named Peng Tinglin wrote on the Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, “The reason why Ma’s post has become so popular is that he spoke about what countless private companies and entrepreneurs are thinking.”
China’s top leaders this month warned against questioning President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero strategy. State broadcaster China Central Television said that the Politburo’s supreme seven-member Standing Committee pledged to “fight against any speech that distorts, questions or rejects our country’s Covid-control policy.”