Alibaba Group asked to divest media assets as tech regulation grows

Chinese authorities have asked Alibaba Group to sell off its media assets, according to reports by The Wall Street Journal. Officials are said to have asked Alibaba to compile a plan to significantly cut down its media assets when discussions began earlier this year.

The company holds shares in social media platform Weibo, video streaming service Youku, and many news and media outlets including the South China Morning Post and Yicai Media Group.

A statement released by Alibaba defended the company’s investments, commenting that is not involved in the daily operations of its media assets.

“The purpose of our investments in these companies is to provide technology support for their business upgrade and drive commercial synergies with core commerce businesses. We do not intervene or get involved in the companies’ day-to-day operations or editorial decisions.”

A statement from Alibaba

Alibaba’s core business is e-commerce through its online marketplaces Tmall and Taobao, and payment service Alipay. These businesses have also been affected by China’s sweeping anti-trust regulations, which have come as Beijing is increasingly wary of the power of China’s tech giants. Yesterday, we reported that Alibaba Group may have to pay a fine of over $975 million, significantly more than the $500,000 levy facing its competitors. Meanwhile, Ant Group’s $34 billion IPO was suspended indefinitely by authorities last year following remarks made by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

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