China Presses Alibaba to Sell Media Assets As Beijing Cracks Down on Tech Giant

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “China Presses Alibaba to Sell Media Assets As Beijing Cracks Down on Tech Giant” – below is their description.

    The Chinese government wants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to sell some of its media assets because of growing concerns about the technology giant’s influence over public opinion in the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Jack Ma, Alibaba’s co-founder, has been at the center of a government crackdown that began last year, targeting the e-commerce giant and its finance affiliate Ant Group Co. Ma and Alibaba quietly built up a sprawling portfolio of media assets over the years, spanning BuzzFeed-style online outlets, newspapers, television-production companies, social-media and advertising assets. Alibaba has a major stake in the Twitter-like Weibo and Youku, one of China’s biggest streaming services, as well as other online and print news outlets, including the SCMP, the leading English-language newspaper in Hong Kong.

    Beijing expressed misgivings about Alibaba’s media holdings during several meetings dating to last year, said the person, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. Government officials are particularly upset about the company’s influence over social media in China and its role in an online scandal, involving one of its executives.

    In addition, Alibaba’s UC Browser vanished from China’s largest app stores after state-backed broadcaster CCTV blasted the popular mobile browser along with other services for failing consumers.

    Government-run China Central Television included the app among a number of brands it accused of flouting consumer rights in its annual name-and-shame program for March 15, World Consumer Rights Day. App stores run by Huawei Technologies Co. and Xiaomi Corp. were among the local app stores that’ve since pulled the app, though Apple Inc. continues to offer UCWeb for iOS users.

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