Briefing

Chinese tech giants join Beijing’s blockchain rules group

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The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said Alibaba-affiliated Ant Financial, Baidu, Huawei, JD.com and Tencent will participate in the new National Blockchain and Distributed Accounting Technology Standardization Technical Committee. It has not released details of the group’s mandate. (CNBC)

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Talking point: China’s blockchain sector has experienced a period of regulatory volatility in recent months. In October 2019, President Xi Jinping said the country should accelerate the technology’s development, adopting it as “the core of innovation.” But that evidently didn’t include cryptocurrencies, which the central bank targeted for regulatory action the following month. The new committee could signal China wants clearer domestic guidelines, and the inclusion of some of its most globally successful firms suggests it may be keen to export them. Blockchain is a relatively new lane in the China-U.S. race to set standards for key technologies, which could give their own firms an advantage abroad. The two countries are also competing in areas like the patenting of artificial intelligence and quantum computing innovations.