China has released new anti-monopoly rules for internet platforms, further tightening existing restrictions for internet firms. The new set of rules bar firms from a few behaviours, including forcing merchants to choose between China’s top internet players. The guidelines are expected to put new pressure on — Alibaba Group’s Taobao and Tmall marketplaces or JD.com, Ant Group’s Alipay, Tencent Holding’s WeChat Pay.
Messaging app Hike, backed by SoftBank and Tencent, shut down and vanished from app stores. The startup founded by billionaire-family scion Kavin Bharti Mittal valued at $1.4 bn in a 2016 funding round decided to go off the air without explanation. On Jan. 6, Mittal — son of Sunil Bharti Mittal — announced the closure. “India won’t have its own messenger,” Mittal wrote on Twitter. “Global network effects are too strong (unless India bans Western companies.)”
Indian business-to-business e-commerce startup, Udaan had raised $280 mn from existing investors — Chinese tech giant Tencent, Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, and new investors — Octahedron Capital and Moonstone Capital. Udaan, a Bengaluru based firm founded in 2016, offers everything from consumer goods to fruits and vegetables is now valued at $ 3 bn. Udaan, to date, has now raised $1.15 bn.
India may not reverse the PUBG ban even after the PUBG Corp has severed publishing ties with China’s Tencent. S Korean developer Blue Hole, which is the maker of PUBG, is actively looking to rescue its India operations. The MeitY has said it was in no hurry to the revoke the PUBG ban in the country. Sources cite the game anyway is too violent and ownership change won’t change that. PUBG was reportedly in talks with Reliance Jio to bring back the game in India.
Tencent has pumped $62.8M into Flipkart’s $1.2B investment round and now owns a 4-5.3 per cent stake in Flipkart Pte – Flipkart’s Singapore based holding company. Though it is a minority stake, the investment is significant as Flipkart is the most valued internet company in India. Since April, the GOI has taken multiple steps to limit China’s exposure to Indian businesses; revising its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations as well as banning Chinese apps.
Tencent said it would open a new office in Singapore that’ll be its regional hub for Southeast Asia. The move, adding a Singapore base to offices in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, comes as Tencent presses on with global push despite recent app bans in India and the US. Southeast Asia is an important market for Tencent – both for games and its cloud. Recent reports stated that ByteDance was also looking to invest in billions in Singapore.
PUBG Corp, after pulling PUBG Mobile’s publishing rights from Tencent Games in India, is looking to partner with an Indian gaming firm to make a comeback in its biggest market. A new licencing agreement was reportedly in works to pass on the rights to run PUBG Mobile in India. However, it is unclear if an agreement with Indian gaming firm will uplift the ban. Unconfirmed rumours that Reliance Jio is taking PUBG licence in India have also been doing rounds.
After the Trump administration issued an order banning Tencent owned WeChat, its downloads in the US have risen by 41%, according to a data shared by Sensor Tower. Its encrypted alternative Signal also saw a 30% spike in downloads in the US and 90% in China. WeChat users have also turned to Tencent’s QQ app as it is unclear whether the ban scope covers it or not. Due to the ban, Chinese immigrants worry about losing connection with families, friends in China.
US President Donald Trump has signed an order restricting US firms from making any transactions with ByteDance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat. This could be a heavy blow for Apple, resulting in 30% worldwide decline in iPhone sales and a 25% decline in sales of other Apple products. WeChat is critical for users in China and if it will be removed from App Store, iPhone shipments in the Chinese market will seriously be affected, as predicted by the analysts.