As President Xi Jinping targets China’s huge tech giants, the big question now is how he will get them to share key data as part of a sweeping plan to transform the world’s second-biggest economy.

Until recently, China’s mega-firms, such as Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, have operated in a similar way to US counterparts Facebook and Alphabet, harnessing user data to refine an expanding array of digital services. Since more data leads to better products, the tech platforms often become natural monopolies — giving them enormous wealth and power that also opens the door for abuses...

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