On April 13th, the BBC published an article and video by reporter Karishma Vaswani entitled China’s Uber has plans to take on the rest of the world. The brief piece centered around Vaswani’s interview with Cheng Wei—founder and CEO of Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing—and his global ambitions for the company he built. In keeping with the quiet profile that Cheng has become known for, he shared little information that even casual followers of Didi’s rise would find surprising.

There was, however, a small piece that I found significant, and whether he intended it or not, the remarks made by Cheng profoundly highlighted some of the central conflicts behind the thorniest issue in tech today, and one of the greatest threats to global business and trade.

That issue, of course, is data privacy and security, and the complicated intersection between tech companies, their users, and the national and political systems and power structures in which they operate. Below is an excerpt from the piece:

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Elliott Zaagman

Elliott Zaagman is a contributor to TechNode. He is also a corporate trainer, executive coach, and writer who splits his time between Bangkok and Beijing. He focuses on Chinese companies and how they relate...