WeChat removes barriers to external links
This move is seen as one more step in breaking down the walls of the internet giants.
WeChat, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s popular messaging app, allows users to directly access external links in one-on-one chats, the latest response to Beijing’s call to end the monopoly and improve connectivity between Internet companies.
In a social media post on Monday, WeChat said it is also testing e-commerce links from external sites to be accessible in group chats, which will take effect successively, the company said. .
In a major overhaul announced in September, WeChat had allowed users to open external links in one-on-one chats, but users must go through a redirect page before their destination portals. This current upgrade removed the landing page.
WeChat said it will actively cooperate with other Internet platforms to jointly implement the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology guidelines on managing external links, and explore technical possibilities of use of WeChat services on other platforms.
The move is widely seen as a further step in breaking down barriers previously common among Internet giants as they vie for exclusive user attention and time spent on their sites. WeChat had some 1.26 billion users worldwide as of September 30.
Under the old practice, users of an Internet business could not directly click on links operated by another Internet service provider. Instead, they would be asked to open the link in a browser, which was not user-friendly.
Chinese regulators have pledged to curb these business practices derived from the growing monopoly among China’s top performing internet companies. In September, MIIT spokesperson Zhao Zhiguo said the link blocking was professional misconduct that affects user experience, weakens consumer rights and disrupts market order.
“Since its birth, the Internet has been a decentralized infrastructure and should lead to ‘interconnectivity’ by default,” said Zhang Chenying, director of the Competition Law Center at Tsinghua University Law School.
Zhang said that the healthy development of large enterprises can in turn stimulate the flow of factors of production, which, in the Internet lexicon, go to data. “Data only adds value when it’s in flow. This therefore benefits businesses, large and small, as well as consumers. “
While touting the enhanced interconnectivity as conducive to economic growth and market fairness, Zhou Wen, professor at Shanghai Fudan University, suggested keeping security as an outcome and taking a cautious approach. and progressive.
“For example, if a digital payment system is applied to other different platforms, it is essential to determine who would be in charge of data security issues if there were one,” Zhou said.