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The week in review: China’s internet regulator joins tech crackdown

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This round-up focuses on new stricter rules for the technology sector by the Cyberspace Administration of China

China aims to create at least 55m new jobs in urban areas by 2025, while keeping the jobless rate within 5.5%, according to the State Council.

Data from July showed that 6.98m jobs were created during the first six months of the year, with the unemployment rate falling to 5% by the end of June from a February high of 5.5%.

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The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has tightened regulations around publishing financial information by the so-called ‘self media’. These are independently operated social media accounts.

The internet regulator plans to punish practices like deliberately misinterpreting economic policies, “badmouthing” the financial market, publishing information that causes real estate speculation, spreading rumours, and blackmailing. It will investigate and regulate these practices by October 26.

Internet platforms including WeChat, Weibo, Douyin and Kuaishou released announcements saying they will crack down on accounts flagged for these violations.

Separately, the CAC published draft guidelines last Friday banning the use of algorithms by internet services providers that make recommendations to users that will lead to addictions or entice them to spend large amounts of money.

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The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) plans to work with other regulators, including the State Administration for Market Regulation, to push forward the launch of consumer financial protection laws, vice governor Liu Guiping said in a Friday press briefing. Liu reiterated the regulators’ stance that any products that are marketed as “principal guaranteed with a high yield” are considered financial fraud, and urged investors to steer clear of illegal financial products.

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The PBoC extended the payment licences for 11 firms, including China UnionPay’s subsidiary ChinaPay E-Payment Service Co, the central bank said.

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There should be a “moderate acceleration” in local government ‘special purpose’ bond issuance in the second half of the year, the Ministry of Finance said in a report last on Friday. Special purpose bond issuance totalled Rmb1.01tr ($157bn) for the first six months of 2021, said the report.

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The province of Gansu plans to issue Rmb12.6bn of bonds to recapitalise 48 local lenders. These include 14 rural commercial banks, 32 rural credit co-operatives, and two rural co-operative banks.

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The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) published a report on the accounting of listed companies’ annual reports in 2020. It pointed out issues at some companies in areas like calculation of impairment losses and contingent liabilities and assets.

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Securities companies in China must strengthen compliance and risk control, CSRC’s vice chairman Li Chao said at a Sunday meeting of the Securities Association of China.

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ByteDance plans to acquire Chinese start-up Pico, a virtual reality headset maker founded in 2015, for at least Rmb5bn, according to onshore media reports.

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