China’s market regulator bars Tencent from exclusive rights in online music

FILE PHOTO: A Tencent logo is seen in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

China‘s market regulator on Saturday said it would bar Tencent Holdings Ltd from exclusive music copyright agreements and fined the company for unfair market practices in the online music market after its acquisition of China Music Corporation.

The Chinese government has been stepping up antitrust actions in recent months against the country’s large tech companies, including a record $2.75 billion fine on e-commerce giant Alibaba for engaging in anti-competitive behaviour.

Tencent and Tencent Music Entertainment Group, the unit created from the acquisition, said they would abide by the decision and comply with all regulatory requirements.

The State Administration Of Market Regulation (SAMR) said it had investigated  Tencent‘s activities in the online music broadcasting platform market in China, in which music copyright is the core asset, in a notice posted on its official website.

Reuters reported in mid-July that the antitrust regulator would order Tencent‘s music streaming arm to give up exclusive rights to music labels that it has used to compete with smaller rivals, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Tencent held more than 80% of exclusive music library resources after its acquisitions, the regulator said, increasing its leverage over upstream copyright parties and allowing it to restrict new entrants, the regulator said.

SAMR said Tencent and its affiliated companies must not engage in exclusive copyright agreements with upstream owners of such rights, while existing agreements must be terminated within 30 days of the regulatory notice.

The regulator also ordered Tencent to pay a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,150).

Earlier this month, the regulator said it would block Tencent‘s plan to merge the country’s top two videogame streaming sites, Huya and DouYu , on antitrust grounds.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.