China has ordered Alibaba and Tencent to open platforms upto each other

According to the 21st Century Business Herald, China’s industry ministry has instructed technology businesses such as Alibaba Group Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd to cease blocking one other’s website links from their platforms.

Image: REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

According to the publication, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology presented instant messaging service rules to firms on Friday, instructing them that all platforms must be unlocked by a specific time.

If the companies do not comply, the government indicated it may have to take additional steps, according to the newspaper. The move is the latest in a slew of regulatory actions affecting businesses ranging from technology to entertainment and gambling.

Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance, Baidu Inc, Huawei Technologies Co, and Xiaomi Corp were among the companies that attended the conference, according to the publication. Requests for comment were not immediately returned by the firms.

China’s internet is dominated by a few digital behemoths that have historically restricted rivals’ links and services on their platforms, resulting in “walled gardens,” according to experts. In recent months, regulators have stepped in, accusing corporations of creating monopolies and limiting customer choice.

The Wall Street Journal reported in July that Alibaba and Tencent were discussing progressively integrating their services, such as bringing Tencent’s WeChat Pay to Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall e-commerce platforms.

Following new government guidelines issued in July, Chinese regulators summoned some of the country’s largest internet platform operators, including Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, Meituan, and Didi Chuxing, to a meeting on Friday to discuss their efforts to protect the basic rights of gig economy workers.

According to a statement published on Friday by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the ten internet businesses summoned to the conference were told to “take a leading role” in caring for these employees and shouldering the social obligations of employing them (MOHRSS).

The government also instructed the businesses to create their own schedules and road maps in order to comply with the requirements, which included contracting gig workers.

The new rules, which were released jointly by the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) and six other government organizations, are intended to protect the basic rights of gig workers including delivery and ride-hailing drivers. A basic income, job safety, food safety, a suitable working environment, and access to insurance coverage are among their rights.

Alibaba-backed food delivery service, truck-hailing platform operator Full Truck Alliance, on-demand delivery provider Dada Group and grocery delivery platform Daojia, on-demand logistics firms LaLaMove, and courier service Shansong Express are among the other companies summoned to the meeting on Friday.

In recent years, labor concerns at large on-demand services platforms such as Meituan and have been scrutinized. A government video from Beijing that showed a local labor official doing a grueling 12-hour shift as a Meituan employee went popular on Chinese social media in April.

Nonetheless, every spontaneous walkout or organized effort by gig economy employees has been closely monitored by China. After attempting to organize strikes among fellow delivery guys in Beijing, Chen Guojiang, commonly known as Mengzhu, was detained in March on allegations of “provoking disturbance.”