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Jan. 13, 2021, 2:50 p.m. EST

Americans won’t be banned from investing in Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu

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By Jing Yang, Dawn Lim and Gordon Lubold

The U.S. government is expected to let Americans continue to invest in Chinese technology giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/201948298/composite BABA +1.47% , Tencent Holdings Ltd. /zigman2/quotes/207908563/delayed TCEHY +0.40% and Baidu Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209050136/composite BIDU +0.43% after weighing the firms’ alleged ties to China’s military against the potential economic impact of banning them.

New York-listed Alibaba and Baidu, and Hong Kong-listed Tencent, were among a dozen companies being examined for inclusion in a Defense Department list of firms deemed to support China’s military, intelligence and security services, according to people familiar with the matter. U.S. investors have until November to divest their holdings of any firm on the list.

The U.S. no longer plans to add the three firms to the list. Nine other Chinese companies will be added, as well as more than 100 subsidiaries of companies already on the list, the people said.

The decision caps off a weekslong battle that pit Treasury officials, who feared widespread selloffs and economic fallout, against State Department and Pentagon officials seeking a tougher line against Beijing. Up until Wednesday morning, many in the State Department and Pentagon believed that they had a compelling case for the companies to be included once administrative kinks were ironed out, said the people familiar with the matter.

An expanded version of this story appears on WSJ.com

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