Internet giants have stalled and shrunk, can they stop falling and recover?

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Text / Liu Yuanju

Source/Qin Shuo Moments ID: qspyq2015


From January to February, my country’s Internet and related service enterprises above designated size achieved business income of 222.3 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 5.1%. Although it is still increasing, the growth rate has fallen back, down 16.1 percentage points from the full year of 2021. In terms of profit, a total profit of 13.5 billion yuan was realized, a year-on-year decrease of 7.4%. For the full year of 2021, profit is a year-on-year increase of 13.3%.

On the whole, it is an established fact that Chinese Internet companies are “stalling” as a whole.

From the second half of last year to the present, in addition to the general layoffs in online education, other big companies have also continuously released information on business adjustment and personnel optimization. Baidu,, Byte, iQiyi, Kuaishou, Didi and many others Internet companies are among them.

According to a survey conducted by Liepin on enterprises, in 2021, the layoffs in the Internet industry will be only lower than that of cultural and educational media and real estate, and it is one of the three industries with the largest layoffs. At the same time, some practitioners have to bear another kind of loss, that is, the stocks of their companies plummet.

Affected by multiple factors such as international geopolitics and tightening domestic regulatory policies, the Internet industry has recently faced huge uncertainties. With a little bit of trouble, the market will guess whether a certain industry or a certain company will be “hammered”.

In March, the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States successively included a number of Chinese concept-stock companies on the “pre-delisting list”, causing market panic and those interested in taking the opportunity to short. As a result, Chinese stocks represented by the Internet plummeted, and Alibaba, Baidu, Pinduoduo, and Bilibili were all spared.

The slump in Chinese concept stocks in March may be the epitome of the tragic situation in China’s Internet industry over the past year.

In the past year, the market value of Internet companies has generally shrunk seriously, and the highest declines of companies such as Pinduoduo, Kuaishou, Shell, and Bilibili have even exceeded 80%. In the past 13 months, Tencent’s market value has evaporated by 530.5 billion US dollars (about 3.37 trillion yuan), and Ali has evaporated by 521.7 billion US dollars (about 3.32 trillion yuan). The market value of Meituan, Pinduoduo, and Kuaishou also fell by $254.6 billion, $217.6 billion, and $189.9 billion, respectively.


Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange were once the dream places of Chinese Internet people, and the listing of US stocks has created one wealth myth after another. Now the feast is over. As the market value plummeted, the net worth of the founders of Internet companies also declined.

On April 5, Forbes magazine released the 2022 Global Billionaires List. Affected by the drop in the stock prices of Internet companies, the number of Chinese billionaires on the list decreased by 87 compared with last year, and the wealth of Ma Huateng, Huang Zheng, and Ma Yun all shrunk significantly. , the ranking dropped significantly.

Pinduoduo founder Huang Zheng, who ranked 24th on the list last year, ranks 173rd this year with a fortune of $11.3 billion, down 149 places. Alibaba founder Jack Ma ranked 67th this year with a net worth of $22.8 billion, down 41 places from last year.

The regulatory authorities are also very concerned about this. On March 16, Vice Premier Liu He of the State Council presided over a meeting of the Finance Committee, emphasizing the need to actively introduce market-friendly policies and prudently introduce contractionary policies. Regarding platform economic governance, it is necessary to improve the established plan in accordance with the principles of marketization, rule of law, and internationalization, adhere to seeking progress while maintaining stability, and steadily advance and complete the rectification work of large platform companies through standardized, transparent and predictable supervision. The green light must be set up to promote the stable and healthy development of the platform economy and improve international competitiveness.

Regarding Chinese stocks, Liu He said at the meeting that the regulators of China and the United States have maintained good communication and have made positive progress. The Chinese government continues to support various types of companies to list overseas.

Subsequently, the my country Securities Regulatory Commission revised the relevant content of overseas issuance of securities and listing management, clarified corporate information security responsibilities, and improved cross-border supervision and cooperation arrangements.

At the end of last year, the Central Economic Work Conference pointed out that my country’s economy is facing the triple pressure of “demand contraction, supply shock, and weakening expectations”. Now, due to the impact of the epidemic, economic uncertainty has further increased, so it also takes a process to transmit policies to the industry.

For the Internet industry, in addition to the protection of supervision, what is more important now is that all parties must have a correct understanding of it in terms of consciousness and concept, clarify the new positioning and development direction of the Internet, and help the industry to “stop the decline and rebound in time” “.


The new positioning of the Internet is the real economy. On the one hand, the Internet has penetrated into all aspects of people’s lives, and is itself an indispensable part of the real economy. It also has a strong driving effect on entities such as agriculture and manufacturing.

At the same time, Internet companies have also responded to the call, actively transformed, and deeply integrated with the real economy represented by traditional manufacturing, that is, digital and real integration, coexistence, and regard it as a new high-quality development direction.

The so-called virtual economy actually refers to excessive financialization, and the Internet industry is not virtual. Whether it is e-commerce, food delivery, wine travel, or games, live broadcasting, film and television, these are all real economies, not only manufacturing is the entity.

From the perspective of a higher macroeconomic cycle, these Internet fields and manufacturing are not opposed to each other, but complementary and mutually reinforcing.

First, the Internet can promote consumption in the real economy. Manufacturing is not the purpose, but for selling, it is for consumption, and only by increasing income can there be more consumption. Specifically, the position of the rider is a 25-year-old young man with a junior high school education in the western mountainous area, and the position closest to the Internet. When he has jobs and income, he will generate consumption; more consumer demand can stimulate the acceleration of manufacturing production, and finally form a circular economy.

And, in the accelerated economic cycle, promote the upgrading of manufacturing technology. Haven’t you seen, is the food delivery industry exploring unmanned vehicle delivery and robot delivery?

Second, the Internet can directly promote the development of physical technology. Even games and live broadcasts that do not seem to be related to manufacturing can promote the development of manufacturing. In fact, the emergence of multimedia in the early 21st century provided mass entertainment, and only after sales and profits could promote research and development, creating chip companies such as INTEL, AMD, and Nvidia. Today, these companies have become the world’s top companies in the fields of deep learning, artificial intelligence, and image recognition.

Third, the Internet can promote the transformation and improvement of the real economy. Taking e-commerce, community group buying, and takeaway as examples, they do not simply move people’s shopping needs and catering needs from brick-and-mortar stores to online. More convenient e-commerce, community group purchases, takeaways, etc., have made the cake of the retail industry and catering industry bigger, promoted the transformation and upgrading of the supply chain, changed the mode of agricultural production and sales, and promoted the modernization of agriculture.

The efficiency of the industry has been improved, and in general, the millions of workers behind this have also increased their incomes. During the epidemic in Shanghai, food grabbing and group purchases have become essential for Shanghai citizens, but behind this are large and small Internet platforms that do not provide efficient digital tools for information collection, sales, payment, and connection. It is impossible for citizens to organize self-help channels in a short period of time. This fully reflects the long-term value of the integration of the digital economy and the real economy to strengthen the intelligent supply chain and to public life.


At the same time, Internet companies are also actively transforming, and continue to increase the nature of the real economy. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China proposed to promote the deep integration of the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence and the real economy to build a digital China and a smart society. The coordinated development of Internet companies and the real economy, especially the traditional manufacturing industry, and the integration of data and reality to help the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries are the new direction of current Internet development.

In fact, the big manufacturers are doing the same. The digital and real economy business serving the B-side is becoming a new growth engine for Tencent. In recent years, Tencent has invested heavily in the industrial Internet, in many fields such as government affairs, finance, education, transportation, medical care, and smart retail. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Tencent’s digital real economy business revenue has surpassed online game revenue, becoming the business segment with the largest contribution to revenue.

Alibaba is also accelerating the integration of digital and real. Alibaba CEO Zhang Yong once said that the process of digitalization of China’s industries has just begun. Alibaba will be committed to serving the real economy for a long time, and will take advantage of Alibaba Cloud’s self-developed technology products to target computing power, intelligence, and other aspects of new energy vehicles, finance, and medical care. High-potential industries with great demand will launch corresponding solutions.

A similar trend was also shown in the financial report released by on March 10. In the past three years, has invested more than 2 trillion yuan in real economy-related investments in commodity procurement, infrastructure, technology research and development, logistics contract performance, employee compensation and benefits, and brand merchant support.

Therefore, on the one hand, the Internet must actively integrate with the manufacturing industry, and do a good job in the integration of data and reality, in order to speed up again. On the other hand, all walks of life should also face up to the “entity attributes” of Internet companies themselves, and promote the development of the real economy and the offline economy by promoting the development of the Internet economy. China has a huge production capacity, as well as a huge population size and consumer demand. As long as the measures are taken properly, there is still room for the growth of the entire economy and the Internet industry to get out of a stall and return to a normal trajectory.

Author: First studied science and engineering and then economics, worked in the consulting industry, and now many media have set up columns. Focus on current affairs, finance and technology, aiming to explore the facts and justice behind the phenomenon. Rational and objective style.

“Picture | Visual China”

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