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Tencent tightens rules for finance influencers

Tencent Holdings enforces stricter rules for finance live streamers on WeChat, aligning with Beijing's efforts to regulate online content and stabilise the economy.

To bolster confidence in the economy, Tencent Holdings has introduced stricter regulations for financial content creators on WeChat, its widely used social media platform. These changes come as Beijing increases oversight of online discussions amid concerns about the country's economic stability.

New criteria for finance live streamers

Effective Monday, only certified professionals can host financial live streams on WeChat. They are now required to appear physically during their live sessions. Additionally, those discussing stocks, bonds, funds, insurance, and trusts are prohibited from offering specific investment advice. This includes market forecasts and detailed analyses of candlestick charts.

Broadening online content regulation

These new requirements for WeChat Channels, a video segment within the app launched in 2020, are part of a larger trend of content regulation by internet companies in China. This regulatory increase aligns with directives.

Major social media platforms in China, like Kuaishou Technology, Douyin, ByteDance (operator of TikTok), and Bilibili, have recently required popular influencers to reveal their true identities. Influencers with over half a million followers must display their real names on their profiles, leading some to shut down their accounts.

Focus on financial commentary

The Chinese government's crackdown has particularly impacted commentators discussing financial markets and the economy, aiming to uplift investor morale in a challenging economic environment.

Despite progress in post-pandemic recovery, China grapples with issues like high local government debt, falling property investments, weak consumer demand, and geopolitical challenges.

Social media's role in economic discourse

In June, Weibo suspended the account of Wu Xiaobo, a notable economic and financial writer. Accused of “hyping up the unemployment rate” and “smearing the of the security market”, Wu's suspension reflects the tightening control over economic discourse on social media. He had nearly 5 million followers at the time of his account suspension.

Tencent's strategic shift

Tencent has high hopes for Channels as a key growth driver. The Shenzhen-based conglomerate, with interests in social media, video gaming, and videos, is realigning its business. It recently announced the closure of its seven-year-old live-streaming and short-video service, Now.

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Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia
Nurin Sofia is a news editor at Tech Edition. Her interest is in technology and startups, occasionally crunching news for gaming. Sofia enjoys playing video games, going on bike rides, and gardening when she isn't behind a keyboard.

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