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Tim Culpan

Alibaba Has a Much Bigger Problem Than the Tech Crackdown

Common prosperity and regulatory enforcement collide with even stronger headwinds: There are no new customers left.

No longer easy pickins.

No longer easy pickins.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s slowest quarter on record comes amid a prolonged crackdown on China’s major technology companies. It’s easy to conflate the two.

But the increased regulatory burden is overshadowed by even harsher problems. Chief among them: peak customer. It’s a reminder that the country’s burgeoning middle class is no longer easy pickings for high-flying companies with ubiquitous platforms.