One year ago, Chinese leader Xi Jinping pledged to spend 2021 reining in "disorderly" private businesses that were growing too powerful and taking on too much risk. The sweeping regulatory crackdown that followed accomplished just that, claiming some high-profile casualties along the way. But the economy is now looking a lot shakier than it was, and Xi doesn't seem ready to rock the boat any further in the new year. The curbs on tech, finance, education and entertainment hammered stocks and at one point wiped out trillions of dollars worth of value from Chinese companies on global markets.
They also triggered huge layoffs among many companies, pressuring the job sector even as it tries to recover from the pandemic. Further regulations on property firms that began last year have piled on the pain for major developers who were already carrying too much debt. Real estate — which accounts for nearly a third of China's GDP — is now in a deepening slump, with big players on the brink of collapse. Add that to a handful of other problems in the world's second largest economy, and you have some serious risks for the Chinese government to contend with in 2022.