Chinese language regulators are demanding authorities approval of any new apps and app updates from Tencent after a lot of its choices have been accused of violating shopper pursuits, within the newest blow for the nation’s most respected tech firm.
China’s ministry of trade and knowledge know-how (MIIT) will quickly conduct “know-how testing” to make sure Tencent’s apps meet its requirements earlier than the corporate can supply them to customers, state media reported.
The requirement has been issued quickly after China rolled out new data protection laws limiting how its tech corporations can retailer and deal with customers’ private data.
This yr MIIT has repeatedly printed lists of apps by completely different builders discovered violating customers’ rights. 9 Tencent apps have been named on the ministry’s lists and China’s state broadcaster stated the corporate was “going towards the trade’s corrective winds”.
Tencent has discovered itself within the authorities’s crosshairs this yr as antitrust regulators focused its dealmaking and the unique licensing offers of its music unit.
Gaming can also be one in every of Tencent’s core companies, however in August China imposed new restrictions on child gamers as part of a crackdown on the trade, permitting them to play for less than three hours per week.
The regulatory cloud dented the corporate’s income development within the three months to September, dropping to 13 per cent from the 25 and 20 per cent recorded in the preceding two quarters.
Tencent confirmed MIIT’s transfer in a press release on Wednesday, and tried to reassure traders by saying its current choices have been nonetheless out there.
“We’re constantly working to reinforce consumer safety options inside our apps, and still have common co-operation with related authorities companies to make sure regulatory compliance,” the corporate stated. “Our apps stay practical and out there for obtain.”
Chinese language know-how corporations have confronted a yr of regulatory turbulence that arguably began with the cancellation final November of a $37bn preliminary public providing by Jack Ma’s on-line finance firm, Ant Group.
Xi Jinping, China’s president, has been rolling out a brand new “common prosperity” policy, which has focused every thing from social inequity to shopper rights.
When Tencent introduced its third-quarter outcomes, the corporate’s president Martin Lau said stricter regulation was “the brand new regular”, each in China and internationally. The corporate has stated it’s “proactively” embracing new guidelines in its enterprise areas, after beforehand trying to get forward of regulators, notably when it got here to gaming. In early August, Tencent reduce minors’ taking part in time on Honor of Kings, one in every of its flagship video games.
Regardless of youngsters making up a small a part of their gross sales, the transfer to limit the time minors performed shocked some analysts, who considered it as an “extraordinarily restrictive coverage”.