The Chinese government wants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to sell some of its media assets, including the South China Morning Post, because of growing concerns about the technology giant’s influence over public opinion in the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.
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.
Jack Ma, Alibaba’s co-founder, has been at the centre of a government crackdown that began last year, targeting the e-commerce giant and its finance affiliate Ant Group Co. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that China’s government is asking Alibaba to shed media properties.