Media rivals may have to open searches

Finance | Bloomberg and staff reporter 19 Oct 2021

Bloomberg and staff reporter

China is considering asking media companies, including Tencent (0700) and ByteDance, to let rivals access and display their content in search results, a move that could further eradicate online barriers and shake up the internet advertising arena.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is debating rules that will make hundreds of millions of articles on Tencent's WeChat available via external search engines like Baidu (9888), people familiar with the matter said.

It's also considering making short videos from ByteDance's Douyin - TikTok's Chinese cousin - show up in searches, they said, adding that regulators are polling companies for feedback, so it is currently unclear whether they will go ahead.

If implemented, the policy decision would mark a significant advance in Beijing's campaign to break down barriers among China's internet giants, especially Tencent and Alibaba Group (9988).

The watchdog has already warned tech companies to open their so-called "walled gardens" by allowing links to rival services, part of a broader push to root out illegal activity in the world's largest internet arena.

This came as Xiaomi (1810) chairman Lei Jun, vice chairman Lin Bin and co-founder Hong Feng all stepped down as directors of its financial services subsidiary Airstar, data from enterprise information query platform Tianyancha showed.

Meanwhile, JD Logistics (2618) said it will spend 1 billion yuan (HK$1.2 billion) on green initiatives and achieve a 35 percent increase in its own carbon efficiency in the next five years.

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