Portrait of woman text messaging on smartphone in city street at night, with busy traffic scene and illuminated skyscrapers in the background.
© Getty

Is a Communist Party cell a new must-have for Chinese start-ups? Emily Feng, the FT’s Beijing correspondent, says she’s seen it becoming more common over the past five years for even private companies to have a party cell within the business, a sign of the Communist party’s growing influence over all aspects of life in China.

At Xu Zewei’s fintech start-up, 91Finance, members are called “shining talents”, and the company holds meetings to persuade employees to join the party. “It has been very good for corporate development,” says Mr Xu. A strong Communist party affiliation, he says, means that “supervisory bodies and clients have more trust in our work.”

Mr Xu’s start-up journey has been one of ups and downs. The Chinese fintech sector started growing rapidly in 2013 but gained a poor reputation following a number of scandals. Government regulation, starting in 2016, has helped rebuild trust, and there are a large number of investors interested in funding start-ups. When Mr Xu was raising his second financing round he met with 169 investors.

“Only two people wanted to invest in me. So I was rejected 167 times. But the fact that I could meet more than 100 investors was good,” he says.

Listen to this episode here

Listen to the whole series here.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2023. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article

Comments