China gathered its tech elite—along with the part of the world that’s answering its calls—for the country’s annual internet conference last weekend.

Founded in 2014, the World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit (that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?) is one of the main platforms the Chinese government uses to promote its vision of the internet. Just as in previous years, the conference featured big speeches from big names, including CEOs Robin Li of Baidu and Lei Jun of Xiaomi. Unlike previous years, however, most of Silicon Valley’s tech giants were absent, although other major American companies with better market access continued to attend. With the trade war in the background, this wasn’t surprising. Indeed, the sixth edition of the conference had fewer surprises, with minimal English-language coverage from domestic and international media. TechNode, unfortunately, was not invited to cover the conference and, in retrospect, I’m not sorry we weren’t.

Bottom line: This year’s WIC was sedate to the point of boring. While previous years featured a plethora of big names, big news, and big controversies, this year’s seemed more like a typical tech conference with a slight governmental flavor. The only really interesting bits were the World Internet Development Report 2019, released on the last day, and the unrelated Hurun Report on Chinese unicorns. 5G and AI were on prominent display during the conference.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

John Artman

John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...