The Chinese government has been expanding its practice of taking minority stakes in private companies beyond those specialising in online news and content to firms possessing large amounts of key data, two people with knowledge of the matter said.
It has made a de facto special management stake or “golden share” arrangement with Full Truck Alliance Co Ltd, a Chinese platform arranging trucking services, according to one of the people.
Troubled Didi Global Inc has also been in talks about a golden share for its core ride-hailing business, a third source with direct knowledge of the matter said.
Seeking influence, Beijing began taking golden shares in private online media companies – usually about 1% of a firm – some five years ago. The stakes are bought by government-backed funds or companies which gain a board seat and/or veto rights for key business decisions.
Authorities are now also keen to have some control over vast troves of data owned by certain companies, the sources said, adding that the data is seen as a national asset at risk of attack and misuse, including by foreign states.
“They have broadened their attention to other companies that possess strategically important data and are considered operators of critical information infrastructure,” said one person with direct knowledge of how some state investors handle such stakes.
Often there is no evidence of a golden share until the share ownership is publicly registered but that can take a year or longer. More…