In its earliest iteration, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) used to police the country’s internet for pornography and sensitive content online. Now, the low-profile agency holds the future of IPO-hungry tech firms in its hands.

Over the past two weeks, however, the CAC has burst into prominence doing what powerful financial regulators could not by extending its oversight to overseas initial public offerings, all with the backing of the governing State Council. Under new rules unveiled this month, any company that wants to go public abroad will need to seek CAC approval if they have more than 1 million users. No agency held such explicit gatekeeper powers in the past.

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