Chinese regulators are continuing to crack down on the country’s tech giants with Tencent and food delivery platform Meituan being the latest targets. Last month, Alibaba was fined a record 18.2 billion RMB ($2.8 billion) by antitrust regulators for breaching competition laws. Regulators then issued a warning to thirty-four internet companies (including Tencent and Meituan) to comply with anti-monopolistic regulations, indicating it was just a matter of time before the other e-commerce and tech leaders were penalised.
The State Administration of Market Supervision is reportedly planning to issue Tencent with a fine worth at least 10 billion RMB ($1.54 billion). China’s antitrust regulators are penalising Tencent for failing to adequately report past acquisitions and investments. As part of the growing regulations, Tencent may also be forced to sell two of its music streaming services Kuwo and Kugou, which it recently acquired from competitors. As well as a lucrative music business, Tencent’s multi-business empire also includes messaging app WeChat, Tencent Video, and gaming platforms Honor of Kings and Game for Peace.
China’s largest food delivery platform Meituan, which Tencent holds a 17.7% stake in, was also in the spotlight. On 27 April, the platform was investigated by antitrust regulators for its ‘choose one of two’ policy which forbade retailers from selling on other e-commerce platforms. This was also one of the main reasons for which Alibaba’s e-commerce business was criticised.
The crackdowns attracted attention on Chinese social media. The hashtag ‘Tencent was fined 500,000 RMB due to monopoly issues’ (#腾讯因垄断问题被罚50万#) is trending with over 89.2 million views at the time of writing. Netizens commented that Tencent’s fine was too little compared to the sum which Alibaba was charged with.