Taiwan Bans Chinese Streaming Services Tencent And iQiyi For Streaming Illegally

Adding on to the series of actions being taken by government around the world against Chinese tech giants, iQiyi and Tencent will be banned operating streaming video services in Taiwan.

According to a government notice published online Tuesday, partnering with local Tiwanese broadcasters and distributors to provide their video content through streaming services, Tencent Video and iQiyi have been “operating illegally” in Taiwan.

According to the notice, new rules that would essentially prevent any Taiwanese individuals or company from providing services to mainland Chinese streaming operators as well as distributing their content in Taiwan was announced by the island state’s Taiwan’s National Communications Commission. It effectively prevents Tencent Video and iQiyi form streaming anything in Taiwan even indirectly.

The decision of the regulator will be up for public comments for a period of 14 days.

The rules are set to take effect on September 3.

No comments on the issue were available from Tencent and iQiyi.

China claims Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, as a part of its own territory. Analysts say that the ban will have limited impact on the Chinese tech companies because of the small population of about 24 million people in Taiwan. But the significance lies in the reflection of more backlash against China’s tech champions globally.

Ever since the election of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016, the relations between Beijing and Taipei have soured. The Chinese government perceived Tsai to be strongly in favour of formal independence for the island state.

During this time, formal relations between the United States and Taiwan have also improved. A historic visit to Taiwan was completed last week by US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar and analysts viewed that visit as support for the democratic island by US President Donald Trump.

Taiwan has also come in the cross hairs of the US-China tech war with greater dependence of the global tech companies on the Taiwanese company TSMC for its semiconductors.

Services that are similar to Netflix is offered by both Tencent Video and iQiyi. In addition to streaming licensed content, the two services also offer its users original television shows and movies produced by the services, many of which have become popular among Mandarin-speaking audiences.

Tencent’s video service has 114 million subscribers while iQiyi has almost 105 million, according to data presented by the companies. According to analysts, a very large proportionof these subscribers are in mainland China.

Tencent’s popular messaging app WeChat and the Chinese company ByteDance owned popular video sharing app TikTok have been threatened to be banned by Trump earlier this month.

In a move that was described by analysts as “a lethal blow” for the Chinese tech firm’ Huawei’s smartphone and telecommunications equipment business, the Trump administration further restricted the access of this Chinese firm to semiconductors earlier this week.

And the company was also banned from the United Kingdom’s 5G network last month over concerns of the British government of the  disruption to Huawei’s supply chain.

TikTok and WeChat, as well as dozens of other popular Chinese apps, have also been banned by the Indian government in June over national security concerns following a border spat with China.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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