Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

A powerful agency that China’s President Xi Jinping set up during his first term to police the internet is taking on a new role: regulating U.S.-listed Chinese companies.

The Cyberspace Administration of China, which reports to a central leadership group chaired by Mr. Xi, is taking a lead role in Beijing’s just-announced push to strengthen interagency oversight of companies listed overseas, especially those traded in the U.S., and to tighten rules for future foreign listings, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Behind the agency’s rising clout is a desire to fix a lack of coordination between regulators, which has enabled the kind of mixed messages that preceded the blockbuster initial public offering of ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc. last month.

While the cybersecurity regulator sounded alarms to Didi about its network security, the people say, the main economic and financial regulators were largely supportive of Didi’s listing plan. In the absence of being told explicitly to stop its planned stock sale, Didi pressed ahead.

For future overseas stock sales, the cyber watchdog could conceivably block a plan that is seen as threatening Chinese security.

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