Beijing took a stake and a seat on the board of directors of the key national entity of ByteDance this year

BEIJING / SHANGHAI, – The Chinese government took a stake and a seat on the board of a key ByteDance entity this year – a move that raises questions about the influence Beijing plans to exert in a tech sector shocked by regulatory measures.

The 1% stake in Beijing ByteDance Technology, which owns some of the licenses of Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, as well as the news aggregator Toutiao, was registered on April 30, according to the news application of TikTok. Tianyancha business.

It is owned by WangTouZhongWen (Beijing) Technology, which is owned by three Chinese state entities, including a fund backed by the country’s main internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), according to data from government shareholders. .

The holding does not represent a stake in TikTok or its parent company ByteDance, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak to the media and refused to identify himself.

While there is precedent for the Chinese government to own shares in tech companies, news of the stake – first reported by online magazine The Information – comes amid an increase in antitrust investigations and new rules for the industry, overturning a previously laissez-faire approach to the authorities.

“I think this all stems from a concern within the Chinese government that private tech companies were getting too much data and too much power, and therefore should be interpreted as a decision by the Chinese government to get hold of them and take control. “said Paul Haswell, Hong Kong-based partner at the law firm Pinsent Masons.


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“This practice is likely to continue, with the government taking larger stakes and exercising more control, essentially turning many of these tech companies into SOE (state enterprise) type entities,” he said, adding that the government’s actions could make the task difficult. for Chinese companies to do business abroad.

The ACC did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment on the government’s purpose of detention.

A representative from ByteDance said that Beijing ByteDance Technology “relates only to some of ByteDance’s video and information platforms in the Chinese market and has some of the licenses they need to operate under local law.”


The Chinese central government also owns a 1% stake in a key Twitter-like unit of Weibo called Beijing Weimeng Technology, according to Chinese government data and documents filed with the U.S. securities regulator.

Weibo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the SEC filing, he said his unit received the investment in April 2020, and the investment vehicle called WangTouTongDa (Beijing) Technology has the right to appoint a director to the three-member board of directors of Weiming.

WangTouTongDa is owned by the China Internet Investment Fund (CIIF), established by the CAC and the country’s Ministry of Finance in 2016.

CIIF has an AUM target of 100 billion yuan ($ 15.4 billion), according to its official website.

It has invested in online content platforms Kuaishou Technology and popular podcast company Ximalaya, artificial intelligence startups SenseTime and CloudWalk, as well as Chinese Uber for trucks, Full Truck Alliance.

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