The Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, is the latest tech company to fall under Beijing’s wrath. For a few months now, the Chinese government has been telling the web giants that its policy has changed. The laissez-faire of the past is no longer on the agenda. Now China wants to regulate its weaving industry to prevent big tech companies from having too much power.
Douyin bears the brunt of Beijing’s new policy
According to the South China Morning Post, the National Bureau for Combating Pornography and Illegal Publications, a government agency charged with “cleaning up the Chinese Internet” announced on Friday (Jan. 8) that it was suspecting Douyin for the spread Has fined obscene information. , pornographic and vulgar. The regulator has not disclosed the amount of the fine, but only tens of thousands of yuan, according to a source familiar with the matter. In other words, three times nothing for a company like Douyin.
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Another symbolic fine. The Chinese government wants to send a clear message that tech companies must follow Beijing’s behavior or impose further fines, higher this time.
This is exactly what a journalist for the government’s official news agency, Xinhua, wrote in black and white hours after the announcement of the fine on Douyin. We can read this: “The government wants to send a clear signal to Chinese web companies to let them know that stricter regulations are in place and that no matter who they are, they must obey these rules.”
No direct pass for Chinese companies
It is very clear: all companies are treated equally by the regulators, regardless of their size, without distinction. Chinese heads of state and government are trying to curb the “uncontrolled” development of important web platforms. In this regard, there has been great concern around the world since we learned of the disappearance of Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba. The Chinese billionaire has not appeared publicly since his October 24, 2020 speech in which he openly criticized Beijing on the issue.
Yuan Pingfang, deputy general secretary of the China Association of Cultural Administration, said the sanction against Douyin was a wake-up call that other web companies should take seriously. Beijing’s strict regulations will be the new norm. Before Douyin, Tencent and Alibaba were fined for “monopoly behavior”.
Douyin is a flagship in China. The Chinese version of TikTok, also owned by ByteDance, now has 600 million users per day. This means that every second Chinese person connects to Douyin every day. It’s huge. For example, the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, the People’s Daily, has 120 million subscribers to its official Douyin account. Even so, the company must comply with Beijing guidelines.