Alibaba is forging a collaboration with Chongqing on connected cars and digital infrastructure as the e-commerce giant strengthens ties with more local governments


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding and regulators in the southwestern metropolis of Chongqing have pledged closer cooperation in areas including connected cars and digital infrastructure, days after the Hangzhou-based company struck a new cooperation agreement with regulators in its eastern hometown had.

Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Yuan Jiajun and Mayor Hu Henghua on Thursday urged Alibaba to “strengthen” its operations in the city while introducing the company to a meeting with the company’s chairman and chief executive officer Daniel Zhang Yong. for his contributions to the development of the community, according to a report by the local newspaper Chongqing Daily. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.

Yuan, who worked in Alibaba’s home province of Zhejiang for eight years until the end of 2022, said Chongqing and the company could now plan to work together on a range of areas, including connected cars, digital infrastructure and rural development. The city government also pledged to provide “quality services” to businesses operating in the city.

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This collaboration is in line with the country’s grand digitalization plan unveiled earlier this month by the ruling Communist Party and State Council, which prioritizes digital infrastructure and data resources to create a “digital China” by 2025.

Daniel Zhang Yong, Chairman and Chief Executive of Alibaba Group Holding, meets Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Yuan Jiajun on March 16, 2023 Photo: Handout>

Zhang’s meeting with Chongqing’s top officials comes days after Alibaba signed a new cooperation deal with Hangzhou’s market regulation bureau, putting the e-commerce giant in a leading role in bringing more internet companies to the city.

In February, Alibaba pledged to accelerate the construction of its global headquarters in the Yuhang District of Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, in the final phase after the company signed a new cooperation agreement with local authorities.

Alibaba’s recent initiatives with Chongqing and Hangzhou reflect the company’s improved relationship with local governments after Beijing eased its regulatory crackdown on the country’s tech industry last year.

Zhejiang’s new Communist Party secretary, Yi Lianhong, visited Alibaba’s main campus in the provincial capital last December to show his support for the company, more than a year after the state administration for market regulation awarded the company 18.2 billion yuan ( $2.8 billion) fine for violating the country’s antitrust laws.

Yi’s visit comes two days after China’s Central Economic Labor Conference, chaired by President Xi Jinping, issued a statement saying the country’s big-tech platform companies like Alibaba would be encouraged to “fully demonstrate their capabilities.” in terms of growth, job creation and international competition.

The new cooperation deals, which Chongqing and Hangzhou separately signed with Alibaba, also reflect a broader trend among local governments across China to pursue programs that support the country’s economic recovery efforts after those caused by the Covid-19 pandemic support disruptions.

Meanwhile, the Chongqing Branch of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has granted approval for the capital expansion of Ant Group’s consumer credit unit. Ant Group is the financial technology subsidiary of Alibaba.

This expansion plan, which increased the capitalization of Chongqing Ant Consumer Finance to 18.5 billion yuan from 8 billion yuan, is another step in Ant Group’s restructuring program to comply with fintech regulations.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative language coverage of China and Asia in more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP Facebook and Facebook page Twitter Pages. Copyright © 2023 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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