"Coupons and red-pocket subsidies offered by those platforms at their early stage of developments are used more as a marketing approach," Yao said. "As the real creators of corporate value, users have not shared real benefits from revenues that have been made."
"As representatives of the public, governments should study in depth whether it's necessary for them to levy digital taxes to platform-like enterprises, just like they levy taxes on natural resources." China
has vowed to strengthen oversight of its big tech firms, which include the likes of Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings that rank among the world's largest and most valuable.
The use of consumer data, in particular, has become a key issue for the government, and Guo Shuqing, the head of China's Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said this month that there was a need to clarify data rights as it viewed data as an economic contributor like labour and capital.
"Big Techs have de facto control over data...It is necessary to clarify data rights of different parties soon, and improve data flow and pricing mechanism," Guo said.
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