Was Reddit Bought By China?
Although Reddit was developed and launched in the US, it might surprise you to know that China does now play a huge role in the social media platform.
Or, it might not surprise you if you’re an active user on the platform, due to the many memes that are created in response to any Chinese involvement.
Reddit was founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian after a couple of failed attempts at creating business startups, including a business idea that involved being able to order food by text message called ‘My Mobile Menu’.
The main goal of Reddit was to create a “front page of the internet”, which is the idea they developed the platform around from its birth.
After Steve and Alexis left Reddit in 2009 and moved on to different ideas, their community manager Erik Martin kept the idea going and came up with two different ways of advertising on the site in the form of sponsored content and self-serve ads.
Fast forward a few years and not only have Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian returned as executives with Ohanian again leaving this role, but there’s also a lot of discussions over China owning the company. Where does this idea come from?
Does China Own Reddit?
In 2019, Tencent, the Chinese digital titan behind WeChat and League of Legends, invested $150 million in Reddit, raising concerns about censorship among Reddit users. While the platform is still owned by American company Advanced Publications, Chinese investors do have stakes in the company.
The investments from China raised concerns amongst Redditors, who don’t like the idea of their free-speech platform being censored in Chinese fashion.
While China has previously banned information outside of its borders, it has often done so via Chinese native applications linked to mainland accounts. If their accounts are linked to mainland IDs, WeChat users in the United States may still be restricted.
Users that log into their Chinese accounts on Douyin, the Chinese counterpart of TikTok, from outside the state have had their postings removed. A brief video of a foreigner reading from Mao Zedong’s Little Red Book was banned from the site in one case.
Other US enterprises with Chinese financing, on the other hand, have escaped the country’s restrictions thus far. Tencent has invested in Spotify, Epic Games, and Snap, but none of them have experienced the censoring that Reddit members fear.
However, the majority of shares in Reddit are still in American hands, with Steve Huffman still reigning at the helm as CEO. If you ever want to check out what he’s up to on Reddit, he goes by the username ‘Spez’ he mostly posts in mod-related subreddits but it didn’t take long for me to see a picture of his Cavapoo puppy..
Who And What Else Does Tencent Invest In?
Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong, and Xu Chenye formed Tencent in 1998 as a Chinese international company. Companies in the internet services, music, and artificial intelligence sectors are among its several worldwide subsidiaries.
However, it is arguably most recognised for its involvement in the video game industry, both as a game producer for the Chinese market and as a buyer of numerous existing gaming firms. Tencent is a massive corporation with a stake in over 600 businesses. The firms and subsidiaries in which it holds a majority interest are listed below.
Here are some of the big names that are featured in Tencent’s portfolio:
In 2011, the business released WeChat, a multi-purpose chat, mobile payment, and social networking app. It became the world’s biggest standalone app by total users seven years after its introduction.
In keeping with Chinese government plans to assist eCommerce growth, WeChat now provides a comprehensive digital payment solution.
Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) is primarily responsible for the development of music streaming services tailored to the Chinese market.
TME has developed many applications in conjunction with Swedish audio streaming provider Spotify, including Kugou, Kuwo, WeSing, QQ Music, and Ultimate Music. These applications have a total of 800 million active users, with 15% of them paying for a subscription.
Tencent Video is a video streaming service based in China. Tencent Video’s overseas version, WeTV, complements the website.
It also provides a video-on-demand service and provides video volume amplification, colour quality control, and other functional services to television broadcasts.
Tencent has a strategic emphasis on original material in the form of micro flicks and homegrown dramas when it comes to content. Short-film competitions and assistance programmes are also available.
Tencent Pictures is the company’s film production and distribution division. Tencent Penguin Pictures, a subsidiary of Tencent, focuses on internet content and feature film financing.
Tencent Pictures has worked on a number of well-known films, including Men In Black: International and the planned sequel to Top Gun.
Tencent Games is the video game publishing business of Tencent Interactive Entertainment, which is headquartered in Shenzhen, China.
Tencent’s game development studios are located in both China and the United States, according to the company. It mostly develops games for the Chinese market that are mobile and browser-based in nature.
Earlier this year, Tencent introduced its own gaming platform called WeGame, which allows players to run worldwide games while also gaining access to other features including as purchases, downloads, live streaming, and community services.
Over the years, Tencent has bought a number of game creators. It acquired full control of Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, in 2015.
Funcom (100 percent), Leyou (100 percent), Sharkmob (100 percent), Supercell (84 percent), and Grinding Gear Games are also majority-owned by the corporation (80 percent ).
Tencent also owns 40% of Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite.