The online platform economy in China has grown to become one of the largest in the world, with several Chinese platform firms rivaling their American counterparts in size, revenue, and market capitalization. Their rise has challenged existing businesses and forced governments to find new ways to regulate the sector without stifling economic growth and innovation. In this paper, we present a structured explanation of the changes in governance of these private firms by the Chinese government as they grew from startups to powerful and indispensable actors in China’s political economy. We explore the relationship between the party-state and these platforms, as the former has pursued its core goals of economic growth, technological self- sufficiency, and maintenance of single-party rule. The interactions between the platform economy, the market power of the platform firms, and the Chinese government’s goals have led to changes in the governance of the Chinese platform economy.
July 12, 2021