Jack Ma’s Ant Group Forced to Restructure After China Crackdown

These actions, and the $2.8Bn record fine, underscore the growing disaffection of regulators with tech companies, even as tech companies become the largest spenders on lobbying. While some of the actions imposed on Ant Group are indeed prudent ones, it has caused havoc for the company, its shareholders, valuation and reputation. The mandates are also not surprising, considering that the company, and its leadership, has been on a massive and broad expansion trajectory in recent years.

It’s why we have strongly advocated for self-governance that pre-empts such potentially draconian outcomes. The days of unfettered access to consumers, data, unimpeded acquisitions, and soon perhaps, acquiescent capital, may be coming to an end.

China’s Rulers Want More Control of Big Tech

An excellent analysis by the Economist regarding the growing shift of power between private enterprise and the government in China. What’s fascinating is the cross-holdings that the tech behemoths have in their peers.

While investors seem to have started reflecting regulatory risks – yet to be fully determined – into valuations, the concentration risks through such holdings may be something to contemplate further.

US sanctions Chinese Computer Makers in widening Tech Fight

Another demonstration of a quiet intensification in the lines drawn between the US and China, on the technology sharing front. For now, this trend appears to be one way, with nothing in sight that might reverse its direction.

Of course the unintended consequence is that China does indeed accelerate its efforts to become a self-reliant “technology power.” This underscores our premise that technology is increasingly where geopolitical battles are being fought, with many private sector companies potentially getting caught in the cross fire.

Civil Rights Organizations Call for Ban on Corporate Use of Facial Recognition

Stakeholders are increasingly coalescing to form strong voices for responsible innovation and deployment. In this instance it’s more than 20 civil society organisations looking to utilise blueprint legislation, banning facial recognition more universally.

From consumers, to employees and others, the growing ability for stakeholders to quickly coalesce around tech impacts is something all board companies need to prepare for, not least those developing and/or deploying tech: in other words, every company.

This requires a deep stakeholder awareness and the ability to respond authentically and quickly. It harks back to our Governance REbooted whitepaper from last year, where we highlighted this as a must for Digital Age governance.

Biden Proposes Global Reforms to End ‘Profit Shifting’ to Tax Havens

A great tax restructuring is in the works globally. With the US and other governments’ spending necessities firmly behind it, it has a good chance of being enacted: “Economists estimate that the sums lost to exchequers around the world from profit-shifting have risen as high as $427bn (£311bn) annually.”

The next step? A harmonisation across US states, with a minimum state tax level established to circumvent growing tax arbitrage among the ultra-wealthy, not least those accruing wealth from technology endeavours.