This is an additional measure imposed by Beijing in the tech sector. Chinese authorities are now requiring internet giant Tencent to submit any new mobile application or update for pre-release inspection, said state media, amid tightening regulations targeting the digital sector. The new control imposed by the authorities, however, did not seem to worry the markets: the group’s action ended Thursday, November 25, up more than 1% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
The measure, announced Wednesday, comes at a time when Beijing is increasing pressure on the digital giants to reframe a dynamic sector of the economy, which has long been freed from several regulatory constraints. Tech giants have taken turns in recent months for competition and personal data offenses. According to public television CCTV, Tencent has been the subject of nine offenses since the beginning of the year, the nature of which has not been specified.
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As a result, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has taken “administrative action” against Tencent, including requiring that any new application or update be submitted for inspection, CCTV reported on Wednesday. Tencent told AFP it will comply with the requirements.
Already hit by other restrictions from Beijing
The measure described as “temporary” has no consequences for the users of the group’s applications, which continue to function normally for the moment.
Tencent notably owns the popular WeChat application (messaging, online payment, social network), which almost all smartphone owners have on their device in China. Tencent, which is also a major player in video games worldwide, was hit hard this summer by restrictions in China in this area.
In order to fight against addiction among young people, the authorities have imposed a restriction on online video games to 3 hours per week on those under the age of 18. Video games represent an important financial windfall in China for the digital giants. An influential government newspaper had judged that video games had become “a mental opium”, while some Chinese children can spend entire days glued to their screens. The article had specifically pinned Tencent.
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