China’s leaders are dedicated to promoting the digital economy and ensuring it remains a key growth engine. Regulatory moves on the booming sector in the past 18 months have been about guaranteeing a fair market environment and improving governance. The heavy fines and other punishments handed out to some of the country’s leading technology firms under anti-monopoly rules have given outsiders an impression of the opposite, though, leading to a chilling effect and jittery stock markets. A symposium called by the nation’s top political advisory body to discuss developments and clarify the government’s policy was a timely step to assure and give confidence to consumers and investors. There is every reason to protect and support the digital economy. It has grown dramatically, ranking second in the world and accounting for 38.6 per cent of gross domestic product last year. Unfettered growth had enabled some firms to monopolise particular facets, leading to uneven and unfair development. Regulatory steps were claimed by outsiders to be a crackdown to wrest control from the private firms that dominate. But this ignores the reality that so important a sector of the economy needs stable, sustainable and healthy development, as has been highlighted by President Xi Jinping. The problem is not unusual to China; governments from Washington to Brussels have long been searching for ways to lessen the market dominance of internet giants such as Google and Facebook. But the global reach of such companies means that regulation and supervision have had limited success. Given the importance of the sector, Beijing is determined that it does not fall prey to monopolisation and manipulation and that data is properly used. Will China’s Big Tech crackdown ease? Top advisory body meeting offers hope The meeting hosted by the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference brought together some of the most prominent people in the internet and tech industries. Discussing views, formulating plans and explaining policies are vital to ensuring support and aligning strategies. The digital economy holds the key to future growth, with tech firms having an integral role in upgrading industry and agriculture and stimulating consumer spending. It is a crucial part of ensuring an economic rebound amid a gloomy global outlook.