China orders Tencent to give up exclusive music licensing rights as crackdown continues

Technology

Photo illustration of Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) logo, a Chinese company that develops music streaming services.
Pavlo Gonchar | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images

China’s antitrust regulator ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights with international record labels and slapped a fine on the company, as Beijing continues to crack down on its internet giants at home.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Saturday imposed a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,141) on the company saying it violated regulations in its acquisition of China Music in 2016.

In response, Tencent said it will abide by the regulator’s decision and “comply with all the regulatory requirements, fulfill our social responsibilities and contribute to healthy competition in the market.”

It comes as Beijing continues to clamp down on its domestic technology firms that have grown into some of the world’s most valuable companies. The crackdown in the last few months have ranged from the suspension of Ant Group’s $34.5 billion IPO last year, to Alibaba’s $2.8 billion antitrust fine.

In April, the SAMR summoned 34 companies including Tencent and ByteDance, and ordered them to conduct self-inspections so as to comply with anti-monopoly rules.

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