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China State Paper Rebukes WeChat, Urges Government to Act 

State-owned paper says companies cannot be relied on to carry out ‘self-rectification’, and government bodies should take action, such as taking apps that don’t follow rules offline


The article said Tencent's WeChat users still cannot access full links from Weibo. Photo: Reuters

 

Chinese internet platforms have not gone far enough in unblocking external links, as instructed by authorities, and relevant government bodies should take further action to intervene, a state-run newspaper said on Tuesday.

According to the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper owned by the Xinhua News Agency, this showed companies could not be relied on to carry out “self rectification,” and government bodies should take further actions including taking apps that do not follow the rules offline.

The article said Tencent’s WeChat users still cannot access full links from Weibo, while e-commerce platforms still block keywords including “Weixin,” WeChat‘s Chinese name.

 

‘Walled Gardens’

China’s internet space is dominated by a handful of technology giants who have historically prevented rivals’ links and services from being shared on their platforms. The practice is often referred to as ‘walled gardens.’

Last month, regulators ordered firms to rectify the practice, which they said has affected users’ experience and damaged consumer rights, and gave the platforms a deadline on September 17.

Tencent said in September it would implement the changes in phases, starting with allowing users to access links in private, one-to-one chats once they upgraded to the latest version of WeChat.

Some services owned by Alibaba, including food delivery app Ele.me, also started to allow WeChat Pay.

However, Alibaba’s flagship e-commerce apps Taobao and Tmall have yet to add WeChat Pay as a payment option.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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