What did these tech figureheads propose at China’s top political meetings of the year?

The China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China’s annual legislative and political advising sessions, called the “two sessions” for short, began in Beijing last week. With the tech industry’s increasing influence in China, internet-related topics have been getting more attention from political leaders in recent years. Here are nine things brought up by China’s biggest internet bosses during the two sessions.

Robin Li: Regulate driverless cars

Photo from Baidu Images
Photo from Baidu Images

Baidu, China’s online search engine giant, recently came into the spotlight for the first road test of their autonomous car in Beijing. At the two sessions, Baidu’s CEO Robin Li stressed the importance of autonomous driving regulations in China.

Li suggested that China should attach great importance to the unmanned driving sector, including conducting top-level design and scientific planning on the development and industrial application of unmanned technology. The government should also increase financial support and encourage Chinese automobile manufacturers and internet companies to collaborate with each other.

Li hopes that the country can formulate regulations on unmanned automobiles as soon as possible to provide support for research & development, tests and commercial applications for autonomous vehicles. In addition, the country should also establish technical standards and set up a system to test unmanned automobiles.

Besides his proposal on autonomous vehicles, Li also put forward another two proposals to optimize the allocation of social resources to improve the fields of telecommunications and aviation.

Pony Ma: Push forward the implementation of the “Internet plus” policy

Photo from Baidu Images
Photo from Baidu Images

Ma Huateng, also known as Pony Ma, is the founder, chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings Ltd. He made five proposals focusing on the sharing economy, the online medical industry, the digital content industry, internet security and plans to implement the “Internet plus” policy.

As the infrastructure of the information industry, the internet has permeated all aspects of people’s daily lives and created new consumption models such as internet finance and online car rentals. Ma proposed that, in the face of these changes brought by the internet, the current administration also needs to keep up with the times.

Ma suggested that the government should invest more resources to help telecom enterprises build high-speed networks, optimize network structure, and improve network performance. Besides the construction of the 4G network, service providers also need to actively lay out a wifi network to meet the demand for basic network resources.

JD.com CEO Richard Liu: Improve regulation against counterfeit products

Photo from Baidu Images
Photo from Baidu Images

JD.com, China’s second largest e-commerce platform after Alibaba, has had its share of trouble related to counterfeit products. Last year, it shut down its Paipai.com C2C marketplace due to the proliferation of counterfeit items on the platform.

Liu called for laws and regulations to curb fake and smuggled products to support e-commerce platforms, which are currently self-regulated. From Liu’s perspective, legislating e-commerce is an important guarantee for the long-term, healthy development of the e-commerce industry.

Lei Jun: Improve legislation to protect entrepreneurs’ rights

Photo from Baidu Images
Photo from Baidu Images

Lei Jun, founder and CEO of smartphone maker Xiaomi, hopes the two sessions will lead to the amendment of China’s Company Law to provide a better foundation for public innovation, improve the entrepreneurial environment and promote economic transformation.

China’s current Company Law was formulated in 1993 and recently amended in 2005. Lei argued that the Company Law doesn’t cover some of the new business models that have emerged in the past few years, which makes it difficult for Chinese entrepreneurs to develop in the information age.

Lei specifically said that the Company Law doesn’t give enough credit to human resources, especially for early-stage startups. Under the current Company Law, shareholders can only buy stakes in a company using financial or material investment, which excludes labor investments. Lei argued that this means shares given to entrepreneurs by investors aren’t adequately protected by the law, which will jeopardize the rights of entrepreneurs in the long run.

Ctrip CEO Liang Jianzhang: Two-child policy needs supporting measures

Photo from Baidu Images
Photo from Baidu Images

Unlike the other tech bosses, who were more concerned about topics related to their businesses, Ctrip’s CEO Liang Jianzhang chose to talk about China’s newly-implemented “two-child policy”. Last year, China relaxed its family planning policy, bringing in an universal two-child policy which is supposed to alleviate the effects of China’s aging population.

Liang thinks “the universal two-child policy” is in line with the future development of China. He suggested several steps that the government should take to effectively implement the policy.

First, it should introduce fiscal measures, such as direct economic subsidies, free social insurance and tax exemptions, to subsidize the cost of bringing up children. Secondly, the government should make child-rearing more convenient, especially in terms of education and infrastructure, which require long-term planning. For example, he stressed that the number of schools in many places should be based on the overall size of the city rather than census population count.

(Top Photo from Baidu Images)

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