Tencent must obtain regulatory approval before releasing new apps

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On August 7, 2020, people walked past the Tencent logo at the company headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China.

David Cotton | Reuters

Guangzhou, China-The State Broadcasting Corporation China Central Television reported on Wednesday that Tencent must obtain approval from Chinese regulators to send updates to its apps.

The move was made after regulators discovered that several applications produced by China’s most valuable technology company violated data protection rules multiple times this year.

Tencent’s app approval is currently suspended. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China must review any new applications and updates before launching them. CCTV reported that this may take 7 days, but did not quote any sources.

“We have been working hard to enhance user protection features in our apps and regularly cooperate with relevant government agencies to ensure compliance. Our apps are kept up and running and available for download,” a Tencent spokesperson told in a statement CNBC.

Tencent’s share price in Hong Kong rose more than 1% in early trading.

In the past year, China has been tightening regulations on domestic technology industries, which have been largely unencumbered by regulation over the years. Beijing has introduced regulation in areas ranging from antitrust to the use of algorithms.

One of the biggest regulations passed this year is the landmark personal data protection law. Regulators are very concerned about how companies collect and process data. The latest action against Tencent is part of this process.

The latest move is another blow to Tencent, and Tencent has already felt the impact of China’s regulatory crackdown. In August, regulators issued regulations restricting children under the age of 18 from only playing online video games for three hours per week during a specified period of time. At the time, Tencent stated that only a small portion of its revenue came from such players.

Suppression in other areas such as the education sector also weakened advertising demand, which dragged down the company’s third-quarter earnings. Tencent’s third-quarter revenue was RMB 142.4 billion, a year-on-year increase of 13%. According to Reuters, this is the slowest quarterly revenue growth since its listing in 2004.


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