China Said to Explore Taking Stakes in Some News Websites in Order to Block News

BLOOMBERG — China is considering taking board seats and stakes of at least 1 percent in operators of some Internet portals and mobile apps in exchange for granting news licenses, according to people familiar with the plan.

The government would issue the licenses in exchange for stock and a board seat, according to the people, who asked to not be identified because the details haven’t been made public. Government representatives could monitor and block content distributed by Internet providers, although they wouldn’t be involved in other day-to-day business decisions, according to the people.

The proposal would give authorities the ability to block news from reaching the Web and coincides with a broad government clampdown on information distributed online. The move could affect operators of major Internet portals such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc. along with mobile apps that provide current affairs and news on a daily basis.

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