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Beijing crackdown on Chinese tech giants

Beijing crackdown on Chinese tech giants

July 14, 2021: -As the anti-monopoly of China and data security crackdown creeps into restrictions on U.S. IPOs, analysis is showing that some of the biggest tech companies of the country are deeply invested in those overseas stock offerings.

Gaming and social media giant Tencent is still the dominant corporate shareholder, with significant stakes in half of the 25 largest fundraises by companies of China that issue American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) in the U.S. since the year 2017. That’s according to CNBC analysis of publicly available data accessed through Wind Information and S&P Capital IQ.

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has a few holdings in the list of 25 companies. In contrast, other major Chinese tech companies like Xiaomi, Meituan, and Baidu each have stakes in one or two stocks, the analysis found. Also, frequently appearing, typically with smaller stakes, were U.S. asset managers BlackRock and Vanguard.

While Shenzhen-based Tencent is famous for its video games and WeChat messaging app that’s ubiquitous in China, it has also grown into an investing giant.

Tencent’s holdings in listed companies publicly in the previous year that increased by 785.11 billion yuan, over the 160 billion yuan in profit reported for the year, according to the annual report of the company. That’s not including its subsidiaries.

The company itself is the largest listed in Hong Kong by market valuation.

On Saturday, Tencent said the market regulator notified it of “its decision to halt the merger of Huya and Douyu based on the result of its antitrust review.” Both companies are Tencent subsidiaries that listed in the U.S. in the recent three years.

On Tuesday, however, China’s market regulator disclosed it approved Tencent’s deal to privatize U.S.-listed search engine and text-input company Sogou.

For many China start-ups, having a big tech company as a backer often means access to vast amounts of data on consumer preferences.

But the internet industry has also been ruthless. In a 2018 book known as “AI Superpowers, China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order,” Google’s former China head Kai-Fu Lee said the local tech world resembled gladiator fights where nothing was off-limits, from copying innovations to launching smear campaigns.

After losing regulation, China has intensified its crackdown on massive, homegrown tech giants in the last several months.

The regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), also said new user registrations could be suspended in the interim.

Over the weekend, CAC announced that companies with data on more than 1 million users would likely need approval before being listed overseas.

The increased scrutiny on data follows the regulators’ crackdown on tech companies since the previous fall over monopolistic practices, leading to authorities fining Alibaba $2.8 billion.

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