China regulators should act amid free up apps' access to rivals' links: State media
By: Asia Business Outlook Team | Wednesday, 20 October 2021
Chinese internet platforms have not gone far enough in unblocking external links, as instructed by authorities, and relevant government bodies should take further action to intervene, a state-run newspaper said on Tuesday (Oct 19).
As per a report, companies could not be relied on to carry out "self rectification", and government bodies should take further actions including taking apps that do not follow the rules offline.
It said Tencent's WeChat users still cannot access full links from Weibo, while ecommerce platforms
still block keywords including "Weixin", WeChat's Chinese name.
Weibo links can be opened directly in a WeChat browser, but the content cannot be shown in Weibo's mini app in WeChat.
China's internet space is dominated by a handful of technology majors who have historically prevented rivals' links and services from being shared on their platforms. The practice is often referred to as "walled gardens".
Last month, regulators ordered companies to rectify the practice, which they said has affected users' experience and damaged consumer rights, and gave the platforms a deadline on Sep 17.
Tencent said in September it would implement the changes in phases, starting with allowing users to access links in private, one-to-one chats once they upgraded to the latest version of WeChat.
Some services owned by Alibaba, including food delivery app Ele.me, also started to allow WeChat Pay.
Nevertheless, Alibaba's flagship ecommerce apps Taobao and Tmall have yet to add WeChat Pay as a payment option.