China acquires ‘golden shares’ in tech firms Alibaba and Tencent for control on sector

In an attempt to extend its campaign to strengthen control over online content, China has acquired “golden shares” in tech firms Alibaba and Tencent, business registration records showed.  More than five years ago, Beijing started acquiring these stakes—called the “golden shares”—in private online media companies. The stakes with special rights taken by China are usually about 1% of a firm. 

The golden shares give the owner more power than other shareholders over changes in its management and are bought by government-backed funds or companies which gain a board seat and/or veto rights for key business decisions. 

News agency Reuters reported that the stakes taken over the last four months in the Alibaba units are the first ones to come to light for the e-commerce firm. 

Notably, Alibaba remained one of the most prominent targets of China’s two-year-long regulatory crackdown on tech giants. 

Last year in September, an investment vehicle of state-owned Zhejiang Media Group took a 1% stake in Alibaba’s Youku Film and Television unit, the public business registration records showed. 

The records also showed that Zhejiang Media Group has also appointed Jin Jun, the general manager of one of its subsidiaries, to the board of the Alibaba unit. 

(With inputs from agencies) 


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