China's tech giants fall under regulator's pressure

China's tech giants are coming under increasing pressure from regulators worried about their growing influence.

source: UmairHabib

By Monday, Tencent had shed more than $60bn (£42bn) from its market value as its share price slid over concerns of greater regulator scrutiny.

Media reports suggest that rival tech giant Alibaba may have to sell some of its media assets under the crackdown.

Chinese regulators have signaled a tougher approach towards tech firms.

  • China’s tech giants face new anti-monopoly rules
  • China opens door to Ant Group's stock market debut
  • The race to create the world's next super-app

China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Friday said it had fined 12 companies over 10 deals that violated anti-monopoly rules.

The companies included Tencent, Baidu, Didi Chuxing, SoftBank, and a ByteDance-backed firm, the SAMR said in a statement.

Investors appear to be worried that Tencent could be the next company in the crosshairs of China's regulators, who have taken an increasing interest in how major tech companies operate.

According to state broadcaster CCTV, China's President Xi Jinping ordered regulators on Monday to step up their oversight of internet companies, a crackdown on monopolies, and promote fair competition.

Blocked launch

In October, Chinese regulators stepped in to block the share market launch of Alibaba-backed Ant Group, which was tipped to be the year's biggest.

Alibaba founder Jack Ma is revered in China as one of the country's most-successful entrepreneurs. However, his fortunes have suffered since he spoke out against China's regulatory approach to the finance technology sector.

Since then, regulators have launched an anti-monopoly investigation against Jack Ma's Alibaba, which is China's largest e-commerce platform.

Additonal rules introduced last month were aimed at stopping China's e-commerce market leaders from abusing their dominant market position.

Pony problems

Tencent is one of China's biggest tech companies, with more than a billion users on its WeChat messaging platform. Its founder Pony Ma is among China's wealthiest men.

Tencent is also a major player in China's market for digital payments, with its payments app WeChat Pay competing against Ant Group's AliPay for market share.

Media reports suggest both Ant and Tencent may be required to set up separate holding companies to include their banking, insurance, and payments services.

Gaming is one of Tencent's most profitable businesses, and the company also has investments in music and movies.

(Bloomberg) -- China’s top leader warned that Beijing will go after so-called “platform” companies that have amassed data and market power, a sign that the months-long crackdown on the country’s internet sector is only just beginning.

President Xi Jinping on Monday chaired a meeting of the communist party’s top financial advisory and coordination committee, ordering regulators to step up oversight of internet companies, a crackdown on monopolies, promote fair competition and prevent the disorderly expansion of capital, according to state broadcaster CCTV. Internet companies need to enhance data security and financial activities need to come under regulatory supervision, CCTV also reported.

The unusually strongly worded comments from Xi and his lieutenants suggest Beijing is preparing to amplify a campaign to curb the influence of its largest and most powerful private corporations, which has so far centered mainly on Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and its affiliate Ant Group Co. The term platform economies could apply to a plethora of mobile and internet giants that offer services to hundreds of millions, from ride-hailing behemoth Didi Chuxing to food delivery giant Meituan and e-commerce leaders like Inc. and Pinduoduo Inc.

“Some platform companies are developing in non-standardized ways and that presents risks,” CCTV said, citing minutes of the meeting. “It is necessary to accelerate the improvement of laws governing platform economies in order to fill in gaps and loopholes in a timely fashion.”

The report came days after Bloomberg News reported that government watchdogs were now setting their sights on Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s $100 billion-plus finance empire after ordering an overhaul of Ant. Top financial regulators see Tencent as the next target for increased supervision, according to people with knowledge of their thinking. Like Ant, Tencent will probably be required to establish a financial holding company to include its banking, insurance and payments services, said one of the people, seeking anonymity as the discussions are private.