Chinese tech giants, including Tencent, ByteDance and Alibaba, have quickly responded on Monday to the Chinese government's latest regulatory move on the industry which requested them to stop blocking competitor's website links or "face penalties."
Tencent said it will implement the rule step by step while ByteDance called on industry players to make no excuses and stick to specific timetables. Furthermore, Alibaba said it will meet the other platforms halfway.
In a regular briefing on Monday, Zhao Zhiguo, spokesperson from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the country's tech regulator, said that facilitating connectivity in the internet industry is necessary to promote the high-quality development of this sector and major companies should proactively take action to promote instant messaging services and stop blocking links.
MIIT's request to the major internet firms, is the latest move to protect users' experience and promote a more open market, according to the Chinese news portal Xinhua Finance.
The issue of blocking websites has been a key target in a special reform campaign launched by MIIT since July, Zhao said, and it also has focused on violations of market order, users' rights and interests, data security, and qualification management.
"The blocking of visits to other website links without justification has seriously affected the user experience and rights and also disturbed the market order," Zhao said.
The ministry will also aim to strengthen administrative guidance, supervision and inspection, and impose penalties on those who fail to meet the requirements set by regulators, Zhao said.
Tencent told the Global Times on Monday that it supports stopping any website blocking activities at the request of MIIT.
"We will adhere to policies set by MIIT and facilitate safe connectivity to other websites in stages and steps," the company said.
ByteDance said in a response on Monday that the rule is a basic requirement for the development of the Internet to ensure normal access to legitimate web links, and to protect users rights, maintain market order, and foster industry innovation and development.
ByteDance will earnestly implement the decision of the MIIT and "call on all Internet platforms to act together, make no excuses, clarify timetables, and actively implement them to provide users with a safe, reliable, and convenient network space where they can truly enjoy the convenience of interconnection."
Alibaba said it will follow the relevant requirements of the MIIT and work with other platforms to face the future and meet each other halfway.