The antitrust authorities instruct Tencent Music to surrender the rights to music labels

Chinese technology company Tencent against the backdrop of the Chinese flag.

Budrul Chukrut | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images

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 their exclusive music rights within 30 days and end the requirements on copyright holders to treat the company better than its competitors – such as high upfront payments.

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 it “will meet all regulatory requirements, meet our social responsibility and contribute to healthy competition in the market”.

China’s influence on internet giants

The latest regulatory crackdown comes as Beijing continues to curtail the power of its domestic tech companies, which have grown to become some of the most valuable companies in the world.

Tencent’s business includes China’s most popular messaging service, WeChat, online and mobile games, and music. Tencent, which is listed in Hong Kong, has a market value of nearly $ 656 billion.

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