From left to right: Pony Ma, Lei Jun, Robin Li
It's spring in Beijing, and China's yearly celebrity parties legislative conferences (the "Two Meetings") are being held in the capital. Among them is the National People's Congress (NPC), which boasts among its members two new representatives: Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun and Tencent CEO Pony Ma. But the NPC doesn't have a monopoly on the stars of China's tech industry. The other meeting, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), is also welcoming a new representative: Baidu CEO Robin Li.
So China's tech giants are out in force in China's legislature. Neither the NPC nor the CPPCC wields much real power, but that hasn't stopped any of these guys from making proposals. So what have these fine gentlemen suggested so far? Let's take a look! Xiaomi's Lei Jun: Cut away the red tape for startups
Lei Jun's proposals this year are focused on making things easier for startups. In his NPC proposal, Lei lists five problems and proposes solutions for them.
- Problem : The government industry and commerce organizations often force new companies to register legal documents using specific forms and structures because its employees don't have the time or expertise to assess the legality of more customized documents, even though those may be better for companies. Solution : Let companies and their lawyers take responsibility for the legality of their documents and don't require industry and commerce organizations to assess them.
- Problem : In cases of premium capital increase at an LLC, the Industry and Commerce officials only investigate and certify the capital that is on the books when the company is registered, and not the premium increase in addition to what's on the registry. Solution : The Ministry of Industry and Commerce should start investigating and certifying all of the capital.*
- Problem : Registering a company name can be a long and inconvenient process. Solution : Increase options for communication (such as phone and web communication) and implement web tools to streamline the name-registration process.
- Problem : Official industry and commerce organizations require a specific number to be filed along with a pledge of stock rights, even though some pledges of stock rights aren't for specific sums of money but rather for fluctuating sums tied to stock prices, voting shares, etc. Solution : Don't require the registration of a specific sum in some cases.
- Problem : Buying enterprise invoices can become expensive as there are only a few authorized printers and little wiggle-room for debate on price. Solution : Make them free, like other invoices.
Tencent's Pony Ma: The government should embrace the internet, support tech companies financially
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Pony Ma's NPC proposals also focus on improving China's startup environment. According to Sina Tech, he has so far made three proposals:
- The government should support startups by pushing big companies to create epayment, microfinance, and capital investment platforms that will improve the startup supply chain. The government should also establish its own organizations to support and invest in startups, as well as cracking down on IP violations and law-breaking.
- China needs to put more strategic emphasis on the internet by doing three things: establishing a single organization with clear-cut responsibilities for managing the internet, increasing subsidies for basic telecommunications services, and speed up the move to the web when it comes to government and social services.
- China should do more to assist tech companies as they move out internationally by actively participating in international trade agreements and safety standards as well as providing additional support and assistance to internet companies and even establishing an "internet commissioner" in overseas Chinese embassies.
Baidu's Robin Li: Don't require real names to use public wi-fi
Robin Li's proposal to the CPPCC is focused on making public wi-fi faster and easier to use. According to Sina Tech, the current regulations governing public wifi require wifi providers to track and store users real names, and what sites they visited. Public wifi time is also limited, and logging in is difficult. Li's proposals states:
Under the current system, wi-fi loses the convenience and speed that was originally the point, and raises the difficulty and threshold for using wi-fi to the extent that many people have just given up on it. When you make users take one extra step, you lose 90 percent of them.
Li has two recommendations for combatting this:
- Lower the threshold for getting online by eliminating the real-name and phone number requirement for some public wifi locations.
- Use a web-exclusive ID for logins (such as an email address or a weibo account), don't require an authentication code every time, and that should solve the problem of repeat registrations and get everybody online more quickly and conveniently.
We probably won't see more formal proposals from these guys this year, but that doesn't mean they're going to keep quiet for the rest of the session, and other luminaries in China's tech industry will probably also make use of the Two Meetings to call for changes in China's tech scene. We'll be keeping our ears to the ground to bring you all of the latest in the Two Meetings tech madness, so stay tuned! (images via Forbes, therichest, kelikuru) *This one involves a lot of financial jargon and we're not 100 percent sure we've gotten it exactly right, so we've contacted Xiaomi for a bit of clarification and will update the post if needed.
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