Tencent Holdings Ltd. is being barred from agreements pertaining to exclusive online music copyrights, China’s market regulator announced on Saturday. The company has also been fined by the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), for allegedly indulging in “unfair market practices” in the online music market, following its take-over of China Music Corporation.
China’s Toughening Stance on Tech Firms
This comes even as the Communist Party-led government in the country attempts to ramp up its antitrust activities against the tech leaders in its markets. Prior to this ban, Alibaba Inc., the e-commerce biggie which is founded by Jack Ma, had also been subjected to a fine of $7.25 billion on charges of anti-competitive practices.
Meanwhile, Tencent and its new subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment Group, which came through post the acquisition, have said that they will be complying with the regulatory decision taken by the body. At the same time, the SAMR has said that it has been keeping tabs of Tencent’s online music broadcast-related (including music copyright agreement) activities in the country.
A few days ago, Reuters had reported that the anti-trust authority was planning to demand that Tencent Music Entertainment Group let go of the exclusive rights that it owns over music labels, on the grounds that it had made use of these liberties to kill the market for smaller competitors. For insight, Tencent had already owned over 80% of the exclusive music library resources following the merger, and had used the same to restrict new entrants into the market, while maintaining the upper hand in its copyright dealings.
Issuing Fines A Week After Granting Approval
And now, the SAMR has slammed the company, saying that it, along with its affiliates, shod refrain from engaging in any agreements pertaining to exclusive copyrights with upstream owners of such rights. Moreover, all existing agreements are to be terminated within a period of 30 days of receipt of the notice. A fine of 500,000 Yuan ($77,150), has also been issued. Moreover, the agency had also said earlier in July, that it will now be allowing Tencent to forge partnerships with DouYu and Huya, two of the biggest video game streaming platforms in China, citing antitrust issues.
It’s interesting to note that just around a week prior to Tencent being blocked from agreements about exclusive online music copyrights, Reuters had also reported that Tencent’s plans of taking over Sogou Inc., one of the most popular search engines in the country, for a whopping $3.5 billion, had been approved by the market regulator.
Source: Times Now News