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'Dog Biting Dog': China's Online Fight Could Further Empower Beijing

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Illustration of a person trying to navigate among representations of China's Internet providers.

If the Chinese governments antimonopoly campaign works, the countrys consumers stand to benefit. But the battle royale between companies could end up even further empowering the Chinese government, which already keeps a tight grip over online content.

Credit: Jialun Deng

Hours after the Chinese government imposed a record $2.8-billion fine on Alibaba, a veteran internet entrepreneur urged regulators to do something similar to his company's biggest competitor.

Douyin, TikTok's Chinese sister service, is suing Tencent, China's biggest internet company, to allow users to share videos to Tencent's ubiquitous WeChat messaging service.

Alibaba, meanwhile, has applied to set up its own apps within WeChat, essentially daring Tencent to say no.

Lawsuits are flying and tempers are flaring on the Chinese internet, home to the world's largest single group of internet users. Beijing made it abundantly clear late last year that it was serious about curbing the power of a handful of companies that dominate online life in China. Now China's internet companies are kowtowing to Beijing and trying to make their rivals look bad instead of correcting their own anticompetitive behavior.

From The New York Times
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