Date
17 October 2017
While already exerting considerable influence over businesses through regulation, the government still wants a management role to have a direct hand in major tech companies like Tencent. Photo: Bloomberg
While already exerting considerable influence over businesses through regulation, the government still wants a management role to have a direct hand in major tech companies like Tencent. Photo: Bloomberg

Beijing seeking stakes, direct role in key tech firms: WSJ

The Chinese government wants to have a stake in the country’s major technology companies and a direct role in their corporate decisions, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Internet regulators have met with representatives of social media giants, including Tencent Holdings Ltd., Weibo Corp., and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.’s Youku Tudou, seeking at least 1 percent stakes in their companies, the newspaper said, citing people close to the companies.

While already exerting considerable influence over businesses through regulation, the government still wants a management role to have a direct hand in these companies that have hundreds of millions of users, the report said.

Many of these companies have expanded into finance, healthcare and transportation, and have gained huge amounts of information about their customers, the Journal said.

Already, regulators and the People’s Daily website are taking “special management shares”, amounting to less than 2 percent, in mobile news platform Yidian Zixun and news website Beijing Tiexue Tech Co.

The investment allows the investors to appoint a government official to the company’s board and have a say over its operations, the WSJ said, citing its unnamed sources.

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