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Alibaba was attempting to establish a media empire. Now it's selling off its Chinese TV Shares



As part of a government campaign to limit Big Tech's power and influence, Alibaba is selling its stake in one of China's largest television broadcasters just months after purchasing them. The company is under increasing pressure from the campaign to limit Big Tech's power and influence.


China's Alibaba (BABA) has announced plans to sell its 5 percent stake in Mango Excellent Media, according to a statement released by the media company on Thursday. It is the owner of Mango TV, which is enormously popular in China for its variety shows. Hunan Broadcasting System, China's second largest state-owned television network, owns a 56 percent stake in Mango and is the company's controlling shareholder.


In addition, the statement stated that Alibaba is requesting a waiver from a contract that prohibits the company from selling its stock for a year. They were purchased by the e-commerce behemoth only nine months ago for 6.2 billion yuan ($960 million).


Based on the closing stock price of Mango Excellent on Friday, Alibaba has already incurred a notional loss of approximately 2 billion yuan ($320 million) as a result of the investment.


Alibaba's plans to exit Mango were not explained in the statement, which did not include a reason. Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the situation..


As a result of Beijing's intensified crackdown on the internet industry since late last year, Alibaba, which was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma, is under enormous political and regulatory pressure from the government.


In recent years, Beijing has grown increasingly concerned about the influence that large, private technology companies wield over the media, finance, and other sensitive sectors, as well as about how integrated they have become into Chinese society through news, digital payments apps, and other services.


While e-commerce has been Alibaba's primary business for many years, the company has expanded into a number of other industries as well. As part of its media empire, it has acquired significant stakes in the country's most popular social media and online video platforms, including Weibo (WB), Youku, Bilibili (BILI), Xiaohongshu, and Qutoutiao (QTT). It also owns a stake in China Business Network, a state-owned financial media outlet.



Besides this, Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post, which is Hong Kong's most widely read English-language newspaper, which it purchased in 2015.


It was reported earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal that Beijing had requested that Alibaba sell off its media assets because officials were concerned about the company's ability to sway public opinion.


In November, regulators put a halt to a highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) by Alibaba's financial affiliate, Ant Group. Xi Jinping, the president of China, stated in December that strengthening anti-monopoly regulations against internet companies would be one of his top priorities for the year 2021. A few days later, regulators announced that they were looking into Alibaba's antitrust practices.


The anti-trust regulator fined Alibaba a record $2.8 billion in April, setting a new record. Ant Group was also reduced in size, and banking regulators ordered the company to restructure its business operations.


Ma, who retired from the company in 2019, has largely remained out of the public eye throughout this entire ordeal. In the following months, he was virtually absent from the public eye, only to reappearance in a video earlier this year to address teachers at a philanthropic event.

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