On Monday, Chinese anti-trust regulators were reported to have penalized U.S.-listed Tencent Music Entertainment for its build-up of a dominant position in online music.
Among the penalties are fines for the company’s failure to properly report the acquisition of two smaller operations in 2016, and a commitment to end exclusive deals with music labels.
Reuters reported that the State Administration of Market Regulation was preparing to announce the punishment imminently. It was not clear whether the fines of about RMB500,000 ($77,500) each and the end to exclusive contracts was the totality of the regulator’s punitive action. The same news agency reported in April that the parent Tencent Group was to be hit with fines of at least RMB10 billion ($1.55 billion).
On Saturday, regulators announced that they were blocking the Tencent-orchestrated merger of games live streaming firms Huya and DouYu.
The SAMR has previously looked at Tencent Music. But that probe was halted when Tencent agreed to end the exclusive component of some of its music supply deals. Renewals this year have seen Tencent Music split rights with rival NetEase.
The possible move against Tencent and Tencent Music follow a string of other regulatory curbs on China’s tech giants. The government has penalized Tencent, Alibaba and others for monopoly practices, price gouging, improper reporting of mergers and acquisitions and failings in the handling of consumer data.
In recent days, China has also moved against overseas IPOs of Chinese tech and entertainment companies, fearing that U.S. auditors would be able to access sensitive information and thus endanger national security.
It has been reported that Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok and its Chinese equivalent Douyin, is rethinking its IPO strategy as a result. But Bytedance has for months already denied that it had plans to list on an overseas stock market.