At the World Internet Conference in China, the country’s three largest Internet powerhouses announced that they have formed an “Internet-Plus alliance.”

Li Shilin, the alliance’s vice-secretary reported that, “We will provide new momentum for economy transformation and bear the ‘new norm’ [of China’s slowing economy] together.”

The term “Internet Plus” is a catchphrase used in China since early 2015 after the Communist government created the term to describe the Internet technology’s application to conventional industries.

The alliance consists of Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, together known as “BAT.” Jack Ma, founder of e-commerce company Alibaba, will serve as chair of the alliance.

Together, the three companies dominate China’s cyberworld in many areas spanning from  ecommerce to video streaming. They are fierce competitors – making news of the alliance a bit of a surprise.  

Li said that in addition to BAT, the alliance includes some government organizations and other companies. He added that the alliance’s head organizer was the state-governed China International Development fund.

The World Internet Conference, where the announcement was made, includes an Internet finance forum. This particular forum requested tighter controls on Internet finance and a general expansion of Internet finance services.

The conference also conducted a cyber security forum where Wang Xiujun, vice-director of the state internet information office, stated that, “We respect the netizens’ right to communicate and express their needs. But we should also build a better environment and regulate online activity. Every individual and every organization should be responsible for their conduct online.”

Jin Liqun, president-elect of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), said during one of the conference’s forums that it supported the development of a transparent, international Internet governance system to allow for a safe cyberspace for everyone.

Jin noted that, “AIIB was born into an era of new information technology, such as big data, cloud computing and the mobile internet. These represent an increasingly widespread and deep integration into an era of global socioeconomic being, Internet-based innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth.”

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