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Tencent CEO Pony Ma Said to Meet China Antitrust Officials as Scrutiny Widens

Pony Ma, the reticent founder of Tencent Holdings, China’s most significant social media and video games company, met with China’s antitrust watchdog officials this month to discuss compliance with his group. Two people with direct knowledge said. The meeting is the most concrete indication that China’s unprecedented antitrust crackdown, which started last year with billionaire Jack Ma’s Alibaba business empire, could soon target other Internet behemoths. Beijing has vowed to strengthen oversight of its big tech firms, which rank among the world’s most significant and most valuable. It cites concerns that they have built market power that stifles competition, misused consumer data, and violated consumer rights.

Tencent, whose WeChat messaging and payment mobile app is ubiquitous in the world’s second-largest economy, is expected to be the next in line for sharper antitrust regulatory inquiries, said two people and a third person with direct knowledge of the matter. News of the meeting, which has not been reported, comes ahead of Tencent’s December quarter results on Wednesday. Analysts expect a 42 percent rise in its quarterly profit, according to Refinitiv data, although the investor focus will be on regulatory developments. Pony Ma, who had been out of the public eye for more than a year, was in Beijing this month for China’s annual parliamentary meeting and visited the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) office the week before last, said the people.

China Antitrust

The billionaire Tencent founder is a parliamentary delegate in Guangdong province, where the company is headquartered. He requested the meeting with SAMR deputy head Gan Lin and other senior officials, saying the two people have direct knowledge. Tencent and SAMR did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. At the meeting, the two parties discussed how Tencent, Hong Kong’s most valuable stock with a market capitalization of $776 billion (roughly Rs. 56,36,030 crore), could better comply with antitrust regulations of the people.

Wu Zhenguo, the head of SAMR’s anti-monopoly bureau, who was also at the meeting, expressed concern about some of Tencent’s business practices, and asked the group to comply with antitrust rules, said the second person. The two people said SAMR was gathering information and looking into monopolistic practices by WeChat and how the super app had possibly squashed fair competition and squeezed smaller rivals. It was not immediately known if the SAMR officials pointed out to Tencent executives specific cases of non-compliance with antitrust rules by the group, the world’s largest video gaming firm by revenue.


I have always enjoyed writing and reading other people's blogs. I started writing a journal as a teenager and have since written numerous books and articles. My blog is a place where I can write freely about my personal interests and those of others.

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