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Beijing Tightens Grip on ByteDance With Rare China Board Seat

  • A government-appointed director now sits on the board
  • The unusual arrangement could set a precedent for China Inc.
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China’s government quietly appointed a director to the board of ByteDance Ltd.’s key domestic subsidiary several months ago, an unusual arrangement that offers Beijing even more sway and insight into the world’s largest private technology company.

The video and news giant in April sold a 1% stake in Beijing ByteDance to three entities including one controlled by the country’s internet overseer and gave the government a board seat, according to a person familiar with the matter. The entity, which owns licenses to operate the company’s TikTok-like Douyin and news service Toutiao within the world’s No. 2 economy, remains separate from ByteDance Ltd., the company’s main fundraising vehicle through which it operates TikTok globally.