China Buying More Stake In Internet Content Firms ByteDance, Weibo Contributor Published Aug 18, 2021 4:41PM EDT

(RTTNews) – China is reportedly making its presence felt in its internet-content companies by buying up stakes, filling up board seats and sending committed regulators to monitor the content being produced at these firms in a more detailed manner. These steps, which are aimed at increasing the government presence in all content online, are taken on rules, which first came into place in 2016. While these rules must have been around for some time, it is only now that China is implementing them aggressively. Most recently, Chinese authorities clamped down on ByteDance Ltd., the owner of short-video platform TikTok as well as a popular suite of other news and content apps. As per government records, ByteDance sold 1 percent stake to a state-backed firm, which could also appoint a director to the company Board. The govt-backed firm doesn't have a board seat at TikTok, which is registered outside China, sources said. Microblogging site Weibo Corp (WB) also sold a 1 percent stake in its Chinese entity to a state firm and gave them access to its Board of Directors. According to ByteDance spokesperson, the China-registered entity only relates to some of the company's local-market video and information platforms, and has some of the licenses required to operate under local law. These latest moves are a calculated campaign by the Chinese government to gain access to the inside workings of these influential social-media and news platforms and, more importantly, have strict control about public opinion on online platforms. In recent times, the Chinese Government was worried about the influence these social media platforms will have on the general public opinion. The Communist Party was of the opinion that the online media platforms posed a threat to their agenda. Since 2016, Chinese authorities have started taking shares in online media companies in return for licenses to expand their business. The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc. Trending Topics