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Tencent boss Pony Ma to not attend China’s top political meeting

Despite being absent from this year’s Lianghui, Ma will be submitting seven proposals on behalf of Tencent.

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Pony Ma, the founder of Chinese tech giant Tencent and a long-time National People’s Congress (NPC) delegate, will not attend the NPC meeting at this year’s Lianghui for health reasons. However, the company posted seven proposals from Ma on its official WeChat account which are to be discussed at the Congress, covering issues including industrial internet, medical services, and mid-and-small business development.

The Lianghui, or “Two Sessions,” refers to the most important event in China’s political calendar, when the NPC meeting and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) meet annually. The two are China’s top legislative and advisory bodies, respectively. Usually, Lianghui convenes in early March. However, this year, they were postponed for the first time in decades because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CPPCC session will kick off on May 21 and the NPC meeting will follow.

According to a report from local media outlet Southern Metropolis Daily, Ma has submitted more than 40 proposals to the “Two Sessions” in the past seven years.

The annual gatherings are a time when leaders of Chinese tech heavyweights flock to Beijing and offer suggestions and visions that can shape the country’s technology industry. In 2019, some of the buzzwords included edtech, artificial intelligence, industrial internet, Internet of Things (IoT), and 5G networks. Among last year’s attendees were NetEase’s Ding Lei, Xiaomi’s Lei Jun, Baidu’s Robin Li, and Lenovo’s Yang Yuanqing. Notably, Alibaba’s founder Jack Ma has never attended the event.

On Monday, Tencent’s official WeChat account posted Ma’s proposals for this year’s Lianghui.

“Looking into the impact caused by this year’s pandemic on Chinese people’s livelihood and national economy, and on the basis of the prediction of the economic recovery situation in the post-pandemic era, [Ma], a deputy to the NPC and Tencent’s CEO and chairman, plans to submit seven written proposals to the two sessions this year.”

Ma suggests speeding up new infrastructure development, utilizing technology to revitalize less-resourceful villages, digitizing mid-small-and-micro businesses, improving the quality of medical services, enhancing financial technology, and facilitating Shenzhen’s growth as a pilot area, among others.