China still wants to control Big Tech. It's just pulling different strings

China still wants to control Big Tech. It's just pulling different strings

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Key Facts

  • But the enthusiasm may prove to be premature; Beijing is tightening its grip on household names such as Alibaba (BABA) by acquiring so-called “golden shares” that allow government officials to be directly involved in their businesses, including having a say in the content they provide to hundreds of millions of people.
  • According to a person familiar with the matter, the Chinese government is also discussing taking a similar stake in a mainland Chinese subsidiary of Tencent (TCEHY), the group that includes WeChat and a vast gaming business.
  • The Chinese government first introduced “golden shares” in 2013 with the aim of strengthening its control over state-backed media firms, which were later opened up to private investors.
  • But as the mobile internet took off, it took such shares in a number of private tech firms operating news and video apps to maintain its grip over information on the internet.

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