In our news this week, we focus on two different stories. The first is the launching of the Ant Group, a foremost financial services company in China that support the Alibaba Company. The point about this is just how many employees will benefit – and how much!
The biggest wealth creation movement in history!
On the afternoon of July 20, Ant Group officially announced that it would launch a plan to seek listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Ant Group is seeking an IPO valuation of at least US$200 billion, making it one of the world’s largest IPOs this year.
This will become the largest wealth creation movement in human history. Based on a valuation of 200 billion U.S. dollars, Jack Ma holds a market value of 17.6 billion U.S. dollars (about 123 billion yuan) of Ant Group, and his net worth will soar to 410 billion.
However, Ant employees who hold 40% of the shares are still the largest shareholders of the group, which also means that a group of employees will reap huge wealth. Last night, the Ant Group headquarters on Xixi Road, Hangzhou, cheered and was jokingly called “the voice of wealth and freedom.”
Someone has calculated that, after the listing, all the Alibaba Ant executives and employees have shares to the value of at least RMB 1.5 trillion (USD 213 trillion) in Ant Group. If the number of shareholders is 30,000, then each person gets USD 7 million. In other words, the next big wave of tens of millions and billionaires will be born in Hangzhou.
How profitable is this giant? In 2019, Ant Group achieved operating income of 120 billion yuan (USD 17 billion). The net profit is 17 billion yuan (USD 2.4 billion).
If Alibaba wants to make it easy to do business, the significance of Ant Group’s existence is to use technology to satisfy both buyers and sellers. Ma Yun (CEO Alibaba) once said that if there is no Alipay, it is difficult for e-commerce to expand.
In our second extract, we report on a survey done in the USA about how popular (or not) the Chinese Government is with citizens. To the surprise of most who do not know and understand China, the results are very positive.
Chinese governance that is hard to deny
Recently, the Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government released a long-term research report “Taking China’s pulse”. The report was written by three Harvard University Chinese research experts.
The research is based on eight surveys of more than 30,000 urban and rural residents in different parts of China between 2003 and 2016 to understand the level of satisfaction of the Chinese people with the government. One of the eye-catching highlights of the report is that the support of the Chinese government has continued to rise in the past ten years, and the satisfaction rate reached 93% in 2016.
Western political science has previously made assumptions about the “totalitarian rule” of the CCP and cannot explain the survey results.
The results reflect that from 2003 to 2016, respondents’ satisfaction with all levels of government increased. The central government satisfaction increased from 86.1 to 93.1. The local government with the lowest satisfaction rate also improved from 43.6 to 70.2. In addition to reflecting the high level of support of the central government, it also shows that the satisfaction of lower-level governments has improved significantly.
Such a high degree of satisfaction is beyond the reach of many Western democracies. This poll reflects the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party. It is not the Chinese government’s political propaganda, but a study by Harvard University in the United States. The three researchers Edward Cunningham, Tony Saich, and Jesse Turiel are all scholars who specialize in China and have many years of personal research experience in China. Due to the academic nature of the research, the credibility of the research is greatly improved.
Of course, there are certain limitations in conducting public opinion surveys in mainland China. For example, many people will question whether interviewees can speak freely because they are controlled by the “totalitarian” state. The Chinese government implements strong information control, making it more difficult for the public to receive Western information. Their judgment will have an impact. These doubts are reasonable, and they do have unpredictable effects. However, every public opinion study may have bias problems, and the report uses several methods to make the problem more objective.
The report is not based on a single statistic, but on a total of eight surveys in 13 years. Chinese people’s satisfaction with the government is on the rise. The trend reflects reality to a considerable extent.
The results of this report are undoubtedly far away from how the Western media usually describes the CCP or “totalitarian state”. Long-term governance will produce corruption, lose efficacy, and eventually self-destruct. Though theory largely explains the collapse of communist regimes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War, but it could not explain the situation in China under the CCP’s rule.
The study finally admitted, through many interviews with Chinese people, that the improvement of Chinese people’s satisfaction with the government was indeed based on the improvement of the government. At the upper level, the overall economy and life of the country have improved, and the people believe that the government is capable of continuing to move in the right direction; at the lower level, the people believe that the impression of local officials has improved, that they are becoming more professional, kind, and law-abiding.
The study did not completely deny confidence in the Western democratic system. It warned that such a high level of satisfaction of the Chinese government is based on the ability to create economic growth and improve lives. Once these factors change, the satisfaction of the Chinese government may be affected. This seems to imply that because a democratic government is chosen by public opinion, no matter how good or bad it is in power, the people will ultimately choose through elections.
But to a certain extent, this statement also recognizes that when the government has good governance, regardless of whether there are democratic elections, a high degree of satisfaction can be obtained. As China has repeatedly emphasized in recent years, China’s governance methods may not be universal, but they are suitable for China. It does not make sense to debate which is better between the Chinese model and the Western model.
It is an indisputable fact that Western democratic development has fallen into a predicament in recent years. Many elections did not create better government and governance. Coupled with the influence of populism and short-sightedness, the elections only repeated “coming to power, disillusionment, declining support, etc.” The vicious circle of stepping down. The people can only keep pushing politicians to step down, but they can’t choose a satisfactory governor. The example of China shows to the West that only those who are determined to improve “governance” can democratic countries get out of the current democratic dilemma.