China’s Tencent bows to regulator, allows WeChat users access to rivals’ links

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

Tencent Holdings’s popular WeChat messaging app will start allowing users to access external links from Friday, days after regulators told the company and its rivals to end a long-standing practice of blocking each other’s links.

China’s technology giants have historically prevented links and services by rivals from being shared on their platforms. On Monday, however, regulators said they were ordering firms to rectify this as the practice affected users‘ experience and damaged consumer rights.

The move is part of a broader regulatory crackdown on the industry that has wiped billions of dollars off the market value of some of China’s largest companies.

WeChat said on Friday that it will implement the changes in phases, starting with allowing users to access links in private, one-to-one chats once they upgraded to the latest version of WeChat, although it would continue to follow principles such as preventing excessive marketing.

The plan will be carried out based on legal requirements and with the approval of regulatory authorities, it added.

“At the same time, WeChat will also actively cooperate with other Internet platforms to implement this guidance and explore the technical possibilities of using WeChat services on other platforms, to achieve further interconnectivity.”

Under the old practice, WeChat users were not able to click directly through links to e-commerce marketplaces such as Taobao and Tmall, which are operated by Alibaba Group.

Instead they would be asked to open the link in a browser like Safari, which many had found problematic.

Tencent has also restricted users from sharing content from ByteDance-owned short video app Douyin on WeChat and QQ, another Tencent messaging app. In February, Douyin filed a complaint with a Beijing court saying it constituted monopolistic behaviour. Tencent has called those accusations baseless.

Reuters

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. 
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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.