Tencent Holding Ltd TCEHY co-founder Pony Ma shared a viral opinion piece on the economic costs of China’s strict Covid Zero measures originally posted by history author Zhang Mingyang, Bloomberg reports.
Ma’s gesture marked a rare show of frustration after his company struggled to grow during the first quarter.
Executives warned that the current quarter could worsen as a quarantine covering much of Shanghai, China’s media and finance hub, hammered commercial payments and ad spending.
Companies from Tencent to Alibaba Group Holding Limited BABA slashed headcount and streamlined laggard businesses to improve margins and control costs.
Ma called out economists, academics, and even average internet users for overlooking the economic impact of Beijing’s harsh Covid measures.
Ma pulled a short segment that accused Chinese internet users of taking online service providers like Tencent for granted, saying netizens would rather see those businesses go bankrupt than conduct layoffs or let their staff work overtime.
Ma emphasized Hu Xijin, influential former editor-in-chief of the nationalist tabloid Global Times. Hu had suggested that the economic costs of containing the virus should not exceed the public-health benefits. China’s top leaders warned against questioning President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero strategy.
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