This Monday, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) requested major Internet companies to stop blocking links to other websites, ensuring a better experience for users. It also declared to strengthen administrative guidance, supervision, and inspection in the industry and emphasised that those who fail to meet the requirements will face penalties.
Before the government’s move, Internet giants in China, including Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance, blocked access from other platforms, “attempting to build a walled garden in the market” said Zhang Yi, the CEO of iResearch Consulting Group.
WeChat, owned by Tencent, does not allow users to share videos from Douyin or products from Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms. Similarly, when shopping on Alibaba’s Taobao or T-mall, one can only use Alipay, not WeChat wallet. This results in limited access across platforms, and people feeling forced to pick a side between the companies.
However, with the government’s determination in building an open and connected internet environment, those giants’ who plan to monopolise the market, will have to change. In the past few days, Tencent, Alibaba, and ByteDance have acknowledged the government’s wishes, and promise to comply with the guidance.
Tencent said it will make necessary changes phase by phase. Alibaba said that it’s looking forward to finding a common ground with other platforms. ByteDance called on all internet platforms to make timetables for action.