Antitrust regulator orders Tencent Music to surrender music label rights

A Tencent sign at the World Internet Conference (WIC) in Wuzhen, China, October 20, 2019.

Aly song | Reuters

The Chinese antitrust authorities have ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights and fined the company for anti-competitive behavior as Beijing continues to crack down on its internet giants at home.

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) on Saturday fined the company 500,000 yuan ($ 77,141), citing violations in its 2016 acquisition of China Music.

Following this acquisition, Tencent owns more than 80% of the exclusive music library resources, giving the company an edge over its competitors as it is able to do more exclusive deals with copyright owners, SAMR said in a statement.

The competition watchdog ordered Tencent and its affiliates to give up the exclusive music rights within 30 days and end the requirements on copyright holders to treat the company better than its competitors.

Tencent is required to report to the SAMR on its progress every year for three years, and the antitrust authority will closely monitor compliance with the law.

In response, Tencent said in a statement that it “will meet all regulatory requirements, meet our social responsibility and contribute to healthy market competition”.

Tencent will work with affiliates, including Tencent Music Entertainment, to make these changes and ensure full compliance, it said.

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