context: The platform economy emerged as a focus at the end of 2019. Consumer- and industry-facing online services are not only integral to China’s digital economy, but also emerging channels through which China can roll out new regulations, especially relating to internet ecosystem management.

MIIT (Ministry of Industry and IT) issued ‘Notice on facilitating epidemic prevention and control and accelerating work resumption with new-generation IT’, which instructs local industry and IT authorities to support internet platforms and IT companies. Authorities are to

  • facilitate e-commerce, reorganise supply chains and mobilise resources supply
    • logistical companies like SF Express and online grocery platforms like Alibaba’s Hema expanded their services, reported 21st Century Business Herald, noting they are much better at arranging deliveries than government departments and SOEs
    • Hubei epidemic prevention and control headquarters set up an emergency supply chain management platform with JD.com
  • reinforce epidemic control and work resumption efforts with digital tools
    • Alibaba Alipay and Tencent WeChat ‘health code’ systems, which help administrators, officials and enterprises track individual health based on self-reported data, are being rolled out nationwide following State Council and National Development and Reform Commission endorsement, reported Xinhua (CP note: the accuracy of these systems is in doubt)
    • Alibaba and Tencent mobile and remote work applications support these efforts, argues 21st Century Business Herald, adding that local authorities interested in smart cities should learn from them
    • e-commerce platforms banned wildlife sales
  • promote the use of IT applications among enterprises and industries
    • different platforms’ remote and collaborative work applications received a boost since the outbreak, according to multiple reports
  • conduct epidemic-related scientific research by joining hands with medical institutions

Local authorities, says the notice, should prioritise the resumption of logistics, transportation and other firms that service internet-based producers, and strengthen their synergy with industrial e-commerce firms.