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On trading floors in New York and Hong Kong, the brightening mood toward Chinese technology companies is unmistakable: With stocks like Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. surging from multi-year lows, talk of a new bull market is growing louder.

Yet speak to executives, entrepreneurs and venture capital investors intimately involved in China’s tech sector and a more downbeat picture emerges. Interviews with more than a dozen industry players suggest the outlook is still far from rosy, despite signs that the Communist Party’s crackdown on big tech is softening at the edges.

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