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 has ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights and slapped a fine on 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 imposed a fine of 500,000 yuan ($77,141) on the company citing violations in its acquisition of China Music in 2016.
Following that acquisition, Tencent owns more than 80% of exclusive music library resources, giving the company an advantage over its competitors as it is able to reach more exclusive agreements with copyright holders, SAMR said in a statement.
The competition watchdog ordered Tencent and its affiliates to ensure fair competition by relinquishing its exclusive music rights within 30 days, and to end requirements for copyright holders to grant the company better conditions than competitors, such as high advanced payments.
Tencent will have to report to the SAMR on its progress every year for three years, according to the statement, and the antitrust regulator will strictly supervise its implementation according to law.
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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