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Tim Culpan

In China, Big Tech Isn't the Enemy. It's the Strategy

Beijing’s five-year plan is determined to ensure the success of domestic technology giants. Foreign firms are on notice.

Making space for national tech champions.

Making space for national tech champions.

Photographer: Lintao Zhang/Getty

Beijing’s goal of building a self-reliant technology industry has been elevated to become a strategic pillar, part of the latest five-year plan setting out top national priorities. This means that China is redoubling efforts to wean itself off foreign companies, with the result likely to be a cohort of domestic giants and a slow freeze-out of overseas competitors.

Just as the U.S. government starts looking to rein in, or even break up, big technology companies in the belief they have too much power, China is going in the opposite direction. We should expect to see more money, more policy favoritism, and more attention from party cadres aimed at ensuring the establishment of big successful chip and software firms.