China widens crackdown on homegrown tech companies traded in US

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The Chinese government on Monday broadened its crackdown of the country’s homegrown tech companies — targeting two more firms that recently started trading on US exchanges.

The Cyberspace Administration of China announced Monday that it’s investigating two subsidiaries of Full Truck Alliance as well as an online recruiting app owned by Kanzhun.

Full Truck Alliance, which has described itself as an Uber-like service for Chinese truckers, started trading on the New York Stock Exchange last month.

Kanzhun, an online recruitment platform backed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, began trading on the Nasdaq about a week earlier.

During the government’s data-security investigation of the companies, they aren’t allowed to register new users, the agency said in its announcement.

The announcement is an extension of a broader crackdown that began last week, when the Chinese government announced a similar probe into ride-hailing giant Didi, which went public on the New York Stock Exchange just days earlier.

The regulator alleged Didi had illegally collected personal data from its users.

On Sunday, the Chinese government ordered Didi’s app removed from app stores in the country, and Didi warned investors that the move could hurt revenue.

The weekend’s moves are the latest effort by Beijing to assert its authority over the company’s increasingly powerful technology sector.

In April, Beijing hit e-commerce giant Alibaba with a $2.8 billion fine as a result of an anti-monopoly probe. Food-delivery giant Meituan also remains under a similar anti-monopoly investigation.

With the US markets closed Monday for the Fourth of July holiday, shares of Full Truck Alliance and Kanzhun are yet to move on the news, revealing investors’ reactions.

But with a wave of Chinese companies listing their shares on US exchanges in recent months, investors are likely to be leery of the Chinese government’s authority over companies based in the country.

In fact, before it went public, Full Truck Alliance shared that it was asked to share business details with Chinese regulators on issues ranging from user protection and pricing to competition.

It warned that “there is no guarantee that such regulatory communications would not result in substantial penalties or orders” that could affect the company’s operations and growth.

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