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Web link restrictions under regulatory microscope

Ma Si
Updated: Sep 13,2021 03:16 PM

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, China's top industry regulator, said on Sept 13 it will step up its crackdown on the practice of restricting normal access to web links among internet companies.

The move came as some internet companies restrict their services from each other's platforms. For instance, Tencent's WeChat Pay is not available to be used as a mobile payment service on Alibaba's e-commerce marketplaces Taobao and Tmall. And consumers can not directly share web links with product information from Taobao and Tmall on WeChat messaging apps.

Zhao Zhiguo, spokesman of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said restricting identification, analysis, and normal access to web links without justifiable reasons affects user experience, damages user rights, and disrupts market order. The ministry has received many complaints from consumers about this topic.

Ensuring the normal access of legitimate web links is the basic requirement of internet development, Zhao said.

According to him, the ministry will make more efforts to correct these practices, such as strengthening administrative guidance, supervision, and law enforcement.

For companies that have not corrected themselves thoroughly, the ministry will take measures in accordance with laws and regulations to rectify a number of typical violations, so as to build an open, standardized, and secure internet environment.