Tencent opens WeChat further to rivals


Tencent will eventually allow WeChat’s users more options for sharing content, though it didn’t elaborate. And it promised to let them tweak settings and other ways in which to manage external sharing in future. — Photo by Adem AY on Unsplash

Tencent Holdings Ltd will soon allow WeChat groups to display links to external shopping sites such as Alibaba’s Tmall and Taobao, taking another step toward dismantling longstanding barriers erected across China’s most popular social media service.

Tencent will begin testing a function “soon” to allow group-chat participants to share links to third-party e-commerce platforms, it said in a brief, official blogpost Monday. Directed by regulators, the company will eventually allow WeChat’s users more options for sharing content, though it didn’t elaborate. And it promised to let them tweak settings and other ways in which to manage external sharing in future.

The move is another major concession from China’s leading social media and entertainment giant, whose signature app WeChat anchors the daily transactions of more than a billion Chinese. Tencent, which along with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and ByteDance Ltd controls vast sections of the country’s Internet arena, had previously allowed users who upgraded to the latest version of WeChat to share external links only in one-on-one conversations. As part of the latest changes unveiled Monday, Tencent has done away with a “warning” page that pops up every time users click on external links.

Tencent has resisted dismantling WeChat’s barriers for fear of diluting the experience and driving users to rivals such as ByteDance’s Douyin. But China’s technology regulators have issued strong warnings to Internet firms to stop blocking rivals’ links. That’s part of a broader campaign by Beijing to eliminate the so-called walled gardens or mobile ecosystems that shore up Internet firms’ control of consumer data and online profits.

The government has accused a handful of companies of artificially perpetuating their dominance of respective spheres: Tencent in social media, Alibaba in e-commerce and, more recently, ByteDance in video. Beijing is now considering asking media companies from Tencent to ByteDance to let rivals access and display their content in search results, Bloomberg News has reported, a move that could up-end the Internet advertising arena.

Alibaba and Tencent have said they will comply with regulators’ edicts. Complicating the situation, new laws that took effect this month have put the onus of protecting users’ data on China’s Internet firms. Tencent has been ordered to stop rolling out new apps as industry regulators review their compliance with new privacy laws, Bloomberg News has reported. – Bloomberg

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Tech News

Missouri Highway Patrol mistakenly sends Batman-themed smartphone alert
Maxis postpaid customers to get extra 10GB data for free
Activision employees say they’re optimistic about acquisition by Microsoft
Sweden's Storytel proposes Hans-Holger Albrecht as new chairman
China vows to curb technology firms’ influence on governments
Meta, Snap sued over social media ‘addicted’ girl’s suicide
Singapore warns of scam e-mail telling recipients to buy pass to receive funds from Bill Gates
Twitter spars with Australian lawmakers over abusive posts
Beijing Olympics organisers say app security flaws ‘fixed’
Amazon to open Los Angeles clothing store, in first

Others Also Read


Vouchers