Busy day in China: Xi Jinping announces tech-sharing, services export push and a bourse for startups

Also banned telly shows from featuring men with an 'abnormal aesthetic' – basically the kind of chap you'd find in a boy band


China's President Xi Jinping has signaled a push to export services and promised to share locally developed technology with the world.

In a speech delivered yesterday at an event called the "Global Trade in Services Summit of 2021", Xi said China will change rules for its services sector, bringing them into line with international norms.

"We will create more possibilities for cooperation, by scaling up support for the growth of the services sector in Belt and Road partner countries and by sharing China's technological achievements with the rest of the world," Xi said.

China is currently a net importer of services, but is rated the world's second-finest destination for outsourced labour thanks in part to workers being well-educated. The 2021 Kearney Global Services Location Index also found China is more digital-savvy than other big outsourcing nations, and that digital skills are a big driver for outsourcing services.

Xi hopes to tap the latter skills, emphasizing digital services delivery as an opportunity for China and promising to create "digital trade demonstration zones" to show how it's done. Details of just what the zones will offer has not been revealed in detail. Nor did the President elaborate on what tech China plans to share with the world.

He did, however, announce a new stock exchange would be opened in Beijing, to "support the innovation-driven development of small- and medium-sized enterprises".

That decision has been interpreted as a policy to let Chinese tech companies find funding at home, at a time when Beijing has made it harder for them to go public offshore thanks to tightened regulations on how and where data describing Chinese citizens can be stored.

Another big new policy announcement yesterday saw China ban boy bands – or at least the kind of boys that sing in them

The General Office of the State Administration of Radio and Television issued a Notice on Further Strengthening the Management of Art Programs and Their Personnel that called on Chinese media to stop making shows that create popular idols, cease overpayments to entertainers, and stop using celebrities' kids.

The edict also called for media to stop featuring "niangpao" – young men who dress fashionably and don't conform to male stereotypes.

State-owned outlet Globaltimes described such men as possessing "abnormal aesthetic tastes".

"Programs should promote the correct appreciation of beauty, and advocate excellent traditional and revolutionary culture," the site stated.

The Notice also has more to say about the toxic fan culture and racy online content aimed at kids that China has already said it won't tolerate.

In the last few weeks China has therefore made it plain it's not very happy with its junior citizens playing computer games , because they are "spiritual opium", and is happy still with games that take liberties with history. The country has also made it plain that certain genres of TV show aren't welcome, banned racy karaoke and even prohibited pop-up ads online.

And those are just the new cultural norms. Tech business have been given new rules about where and how they can raise money, told that they can't develop certain products without approval, and offered new regulations governing how they gather and store data. Large companies of all sorts have also been told they need to do more to contribute to China's "common prosperity" – an edict that overnight saw Alibaba promise to spend $15 billion on good works.

The Reg mentions all of those changes so that, if China pitches its digital services to your business, you know a little more about who you could be working with. ®

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