China’s financial live streamers face tougher rules on Tencent

Tencent Holdings has tightened rules on live streamers producing financial content on its popular social media platform WeChat, as Beijing steps up scrutiny of online speech to stem waning confidence in the country’s economy and markets.

Live streamers on WeChat can now only be funded by licensed professionals and must appear in person during live sessions under new platform requirements that went into effect on Monday.

Fund live streamers whose topics include stocks, bonds, funds, insurance and trusts are also prohibited from sharing specific investment advice such as market predictions and candlestick analysis.

New rules for WeChat channels, the video section of the app that launched in 2020, as internet companies in China continue to increase content regulation in response to government demand.

Tencent offices in Beijing. Photo: Bloomberg
China’s largest social media platforms, which also include short video apps Kuaishou Technology and Douyin and TikTok, operator ByteDance, and video streaming site Bilibili, asked popular influencers recently to show their true identity online in what appeared to be a coordinated move.

In particular, online commentators focusing on discussions of financial markets and the economy have increasingly come under a crackdown as Beijing seeks to boost investor sentiment amid a troubled economy.

Social media platform Weibo in June suspended Wu Xiaopo’s account, a prominent economic and financial writer who said it had “increased the unemployment rate”, “tarnished the development of the stock market” and “attacked and undermined” Chinese government policies. Wu had nearly 5 million followers on Weibo.

While it was unclear which specific social media posts led to the suspension, Wu said on social media app Xiaohongshu that “the industrial economy is slow and private entrepreneurs collectively lack the willingness to invest.”

Tencent has they had high hopes he Channels will be one of the main drivers of the company’s growth going forward. The Shenzhen-based giant also decided to consolidate its growing business empire, which includes social media, video games and video. Earlier this month, she announced that she did closing its seven-year-old Now live streaming and short video service.

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