One point is decided between Washington and Beijing: the strength of the technological firms is underestimated

Last year, Zhang Zhengshin, a private Beijing lawyer, filed a lawsuit against the Chinese Internet giant, Tencent. In its superpopular Witchett app, a kind of Chinese hybrid between WhatsApp and Facebook, which more than a billion Chinese use every day, Zhang came out against one of the filthy activities that Tencent uses.

Zhang alleged in the complaint that he tried to share links to a book he purchased on Alibaba’s website with Witch and to a video he liked on the Tiktok app, but found it was not a simple job.

Tencent’s competitors are Alibaba and BiteDance, the business behind Tiktok, but the latter is seeking to block access to their content from inside the app.

In a development that represents a change in mindset towards internet giants, regulators in China revealed last week that they had opened an antitrust probe against Alibaba. The inquiry deals with the claim that the merchants were pressured by Alibaba to operate solely with it and not to sell goods on rival platforms. For years, this activity has irritated Alibaba’s rivals, and some have even sued the organization in court.

In addition, firms were given a free hand to spend and purchase businesses, grow into new fields and, through forceful means, also retain their control. In a comment by Chinese Prime Minister Li Kachiang, who announced in 2017 that a “patient and careful” stance should be taken towards these businesses, the attitude towards the Internet giants is summed up. Like Google and Amazon in the US, Alibaba and Tencent in China dominate a broad variety of sectors, from trade, to communications and finance to entertainment, with a touch to every Chinese’s everyday life.

These resulted in nothing except as Chinese authorities initiated probes against local internet giants.

In parallel with the current US processes towards American Internet firms, the shift in mindset towards Chinese companies is taking place. The American giants have been working in the US for years without regulatory interruption, like the Chinese counterparts, and inquiries against them ended with a poor response. Stuff only began to improve when the US Department of Justice filed its first antitrust case against Google in October of this year. A lawsuit against Facebook was filed in December and even in Europe the giants are facing challenges.