Pony Ma, the reticent founding father of Tencent Holdings, China’s greatest social media and video video games firm, met with China’s antitrust watchdog officers this month to debate compliance at his group, two individuals with direct information mentioned.
The assembly is probably the most concrete indication but that China’s unprecedented antitrust crackdown, which began late final yr with billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba enterprise empire, may quickly goal different Internet behemoths.
Beijing has vowed to strengthen oversight of its huge tech corporations, which rank among the many world’s largest and most useful, citing issues that they’ve constructed market energy that stifles competitors, misused client knowledge and violated client rights.
Tencent, whose WeChat messaging and fee cellular app is ubiquitous on the earth’s second-largest economic system, is anticipated to be the subsequent in line for sharper antitrust regulatory inquiries, mentioned the 2 individuals and a 3rd particular person with direct information of the matter.
News of the assembly, which has not been reported, comes forward of Tencent’s December quarter outcomes on Wednesday. Analysts count on a 42 % rise in its quarterly revenue, in accordance with Refinitiv knowledge, though the investor focus shall be on regulatory developments.
Pony Ma, who had been out of the general public eye for greater than a yr, was in Beijing this month for China’s annual parliamentary assembly and visited the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) workplace the week earlier than final, mentioned the individuals.
The billionaire Tencent founder is a parliamentary delegate with Guangdong province, the place the corporate is headquartered, and he requested the assembly with SAMR deputy head Gan Lin and different senior officers, mentioned the 2 individuals who have direct information.
Tencent and SAMR didn’t reply to Reuters requests for remark.
At the assembly, the 2 events mentioned how Tencent, Hong Kong’s most useful inventory with a market capitalisation of $776 billion (roughly Rs. 56,36,030 crore), may higher adjust to antitrust laws, mentioned one of many individuals.
Wu Zhenguo, the pinnacle of SAMR’s anti-monopoly bureau, who was additionally on the assembly, expressed concern about a few of Tencent’s enterprise practices, and requested the group to adjust to antitrust guidelines, mentioned the second particular person.
The two individuals mentioned SAMR was gathering info and looking out into monopolistic practices by WeChat, and the way the tremendous app had presumably squashed honest competitors and squeezed smaller rivals.
It was not instantly identified if the SAMR officers identified to Tencent executives particular circumstances of non-compliance of antitrust guidelines by the group, which is the world’s largest video gaming agency by income.
All the sources declined to be named attributable to sensitivity of the matter.
© Thomson Reuters 2021
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