By Keith Zhai
China is preparing to hit pause on its monthslong campaign against technology companies, according to people familiar with the matter, as officials seek to arrest a rapid deterioration in the country’s economic outlook.
China’s top internet regulator is set to meet next week with the country’s embattled tech giants to discuss the regulatory campaign, according to the people, who described the meeting as a sign that officials acknowledge the toll the regulations have had on the private sector at a time when China’s economic outlook is increasingly clouded due to strict COVID measures.
Regulators are planning to hold off on new rules that limit the time that young people spend on mobile apps, according to one of the people, while another person said that Beijing is considering pushing some of its biggest tech companies to offer 1% equity stakes to the state and give the government a direct role in corporate decisions.
The government has already taken such measures in managing internet-content companies such as ByteDance Ltd. , the owner of buzzy short-video platform TikTok, and Weibo Corp. /zigman2/quotes/206830028/composite WB -4.63% /zigman2/quotes/222122962/delayed HK:9898 -1.76% operator of the eponymous Twitter-like microblogging platform. Now, the plan is likely to be expanded to other technology platform operators such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/205527956/composite TME -3.67% /zigman2/quotes/204605823/delayed HK:700 -2.64% , China’s most valuable company, and Meituan /zigman2/quotes/203767197/delayed MPNGY -2.95% /zigman2/quotes/205161725/delayed HK:3690 -1.66% , which runs one of China’s biggest food-delivery services, this person said.
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