Rivals Tencent Video, Douyin Reach Content-Sharing Agreement After Copyright Spat

    After various copyright battles, two of China’s biggest tech giants find common ground.
    After various copyright battles, two of China’s biggest tech giants find common ground. Photo: Shutterstock
      Published   in Technology

    What happened

    Tencent Video and ByteDance-owned Douyin have announced a new phase of collaboration after a series of spats over Douyin platforms using Tencent’s copyrighted videos. Now, both parties have officially agreed to endorse content sharing, allowing Douyin app users to access Tencent's popular TV dramas without infringing copyright.

    Owned by ByteDance (which also owns TikTok), Douyin has 780 million users, while the ubiquitous Tencent-owned WeChat boasts 1.3 billion users worldwide. Tencent and ByteDance both top the charts as China's largest tech companies in an industry that has faced grueling government clampdowns over the past few years.

    The Jing Take

    This is an interesting development in the battle of China’s video and live-streaming apps, which have become increasingly popular shopping and entertainment tools among Chinese consumers.

    One of China’s Big Four tech companies (the others being Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi), Tencent leads the sector in terms of market cap and is also a big backer of Douyin’s rival, Kuaishou. Non-listed ByteDance has overseen the stratospheric and controversial rise of TikTok globally, as well as that of Douyin at home.

    This collaboration may signal a milestone in an industry that has drawn much government ire and scrutiny over the past few years. If so, the partnership may be a case of putting aside rivalries for the greater good of advancing China’s tech and social media space, where accusations of monopolization have harmed the sector as a whole. It may also attract more users to the platforms in the long run.

    As video and live-streaming apps grow more popular in China, success will come down to expanding revenue. With greater cooperation between industry leaders, the sky may be the limit in terms of short-term growth. But will it also stifle competition and create greater homogeneity between key video ecommerce sites in the future? Only time will tell.

    The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

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