Tencent pledges 50b yuan toward public initiatives

Business | Reuters and Winnie Lee 20 Apr 2021

Tencent (0700) has announced an investment of 50 billion yuan (HK$59.63 billion) in environmental and social initiatives - a move that comes as China's internet heavyweights come under intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators.

The tech giant said its investment would fund initiatives in areas including basic science, education innovation, rural revitalization, carbon neutrality, food, energy, and water provision, assistance with public emergencies, technology for senior citizens, and public welfare.

It also said it is forming a corporate development group to spearhead such initiatives, but did not provide a time frame for its investment.

Last week, Tencent was named for self-examination within a month, and China's market regulator warned the country's biggest internet companies to eradicate banned practices, two days after slapping Alibaba (9988) with a record 18.2 billion yuan fine after an investigation found it had abused its dominant market position for several years.

Beijing is also pointing fingers at Tencent's music app KuGou and QQ Music, and NetEase's (9999) NetEase Cloud Music for inducing repeat consumption, according to state-owned media Xinhua News Agency, as Beijing is expanding its curbs on the internet giants to the music industry.

For example, a single account could purchase the same album up to 320,000 times, spending hundreds of thousands of yuan.

The music app not only failed to stop it, but also encouraged irrational consumption, Xinhua said.

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