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Xi remade China’s tech industry in his own image with crackdown

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has used policy, capital and outright decree to mold the world’s No. 2 economy in his own image. After over a decade in power, an intensifying struggle for tech leadership with the U.S. and a sputtering domestic economy suggest he’ll have to once again re-calibrate the country’s giant internet and manufacturing sectors.

The 69-year-old leader has a complex relationship with his domestic tech sector. Xi has made science and technology pillars of his long-term vision for China’s national well-being, and has placed a priority on researching homegrown alternatives to foreign-made semiconductors to ensure reliable supply. The latest salvo: Beijing this week barred Micron Technology memory chips from sensitive infrastructure applications.

But under his watch, China’s internet sector has also been put through a punishing, two-year crackdown curbing the excesses of so-called disorderly growth of capital. A dichotomy has emerged in his treatment of hardware manufacturing and online services.