The Chinese government has made investments in two of the nation’s most significant technology firms — ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns global video app TikTok, and Weibo, China’s version of Twitter — in a move apparently intended to bolster its sway over the nation’s flourishing technology sector. In April, ByteDance sold a 1% stake in its Chinese subsidiary, Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.
WangTouZhongWen (Beijing) Technology, a state-backed firm, according to public government records and the corporate information platform Qichacha. WangTouZhongWen is owned by three Chinese state entities, one of which is linked to a fund backed by the Cyberspace Administration of China, the nation’snatiernet watchdog, according to government records and Qichacha data. The Information, a U.S. tech site, earlier reported that Bytedance had also given a board seat to a Chinese government official as part of the deal.
A ByteDance spokesperson declined to answer questions about the investment and board seat. But the company said that its Chinese subsidiary doesn’tdoes TikTok, which operates outside of China. Instead, the subsidiary “rel”tes to some of ByteDance’sByte’na-market video and information platforms and holds some of the licenses they require to operate under local law.”
Th” Chinese version of TikTok is called Douyin. ByteDance also owns the Chinese news app Toutiao.
Beijing has recently been clamping down on its technology sector. It has launched investigations into some of the country’scoungest internet companies and introduced new draft rules to strengthen data security and prohibit companies from engaging in anti-competitive behavior after years of runaway growth in the industry.
In China, massive technology firms such as Alibaba and Tencent provide services such as e-commerce, payments, gaming, and social media ubiquitous and used by hundreds of millions of Chinese people.
News of the Chinese investment renewed some national-security concerns around TikTok in the U.S., where the video app has millions of users and is particularly popular with young people.
Last year, then-President Donald Trump sought to bar TikTok and other Chinese apps and services from the U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this year dropped Trump’sTrumempt to ban TikTok. Still, the Biden administration has said it is reviewing the national security risks of Chinese apps.