WHEN AMERICA slammed sanctions on Huawei, barring its firms from supplying the Chinese telecoms-gear titan on national-security grounds, China’s state media forecasted this would spur development in the local innovation industry. In time, it may well do. In the meantime, much of the innovating is happening within the Chinese state, as it dabble a new system of control over Chinese company.
On January 9th the Ministry of Commerce struck back against American sanctions. It stated it might force Chinese firms to stop abiding by “unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign legislation” (in Beijing’s eyes, virtually all of it is). It also let business take legal action against foreign and domestic firms that have actually abided by some foreign sanctions for compensation.
In November it halted the $37 bn flotation of Ant Group, the payments affiliate of Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce giant, days before it was due to list in Shanghai and Hong Kong. That month the State Administration for Market Policy (SAMR), set up in 2018 from three regulators, released rules to rein in e-emporiums.