Alibaba and Tencent look to link services: WSJ

China’s two online giants Alibaba (9988) and Tencent (0700) are gradually considering opening up their services to each other, says a Wall Street Journal report yesterday.

It comes days after China’s crackdown on several technology companies with overseas listings, including Didi Chuxing, Tencent and Alibaba.

Both Alibaba and Tencent are working on new plans separately to loosen up restrictions, including introducing Tencent’s WeChat Pay to Alibaba’s e-commerce marketplaces Taobao and Tmall, the report added, citing people familiar with the matter.

Tencent could make it easier to share product information in Taobao and Tmall on its WeChat messaging app, or open access for Alibaba to launch services through mini-program function in WeChat app, the report said.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment while Tencent could not be reached.

China is cracking down on the economic and social power of China’s once-loosely regulated internet giants. The antitrust campaign, which began late last year, has included a record 18 billion yuan (HK$21.67 billion) fine on Alibaba for abusing its market position.

Beijing’s antitrust watchdog is set to order the music streaming arm of Tencent (0700) to give up exclusive rights to music labels which it has used to compete with smaller rivals, Reuters reported on Monday citing sources. The State Administration of Market Regulation will also fine it 500,000 yuan for lapses in reporting the acquisitions of apps Kuwo and Kugou, the people told Reuters – a milder penalty than the forced sale indicated earlier this year.

The market regulator earlier said it would block Tencent’s plan to merge the country’s top two videogame streaming sites, Huya and DouYu, on antitrust grounds.

But on Tuesday Beijing’s antitrust regulator unconditionally approved Tencent’s plan to take the country’s No 3 search engine Sogou private in a US$3.5 billion (HK$27.3 billion) deal.

Outside China, Tencent is aiming to acquire a German game developer, Crytek, for 300 million euros (HK$2.75 billion), German tabloid Bild reported.

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