HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tencent Holdings, owner of China's leading social media app WeChat, has scrapped an investment of up to 30 million yuan ($ 4.7 million) in a content startup This has been criticized online and by government media for the treatment of copyright issues.
News from Tencent's investment in Chaping, a WeChat – Based online media company, whose name means "bad rating", had spurred questions about Tencent's commitment to intellectual property protection, which is the core of its own content business via publishing, entertainment and gaming.
"We have agreed with the Chaping team to accept their decision to voluntarily return our investment," said Tencent's PR director Marsh Zhang in a WeChat post.
Tencent also said it would "continue to respect and protect the original content" with enhanced measures.
The investment in Chaping – the first of Tencent's new content-focused TOPIC funds – has been eclipsed by international mega-deals in recent months.
Tencent is Asia's second most important company and one of the region's most active investors. Last week, Tencent said in the wake of growing criticism that it would conduct a more rigorous due diligence on the Chaping transaction and "negotiate to return its stake" if it did not match Tencent's values and would return to a previous statement Defense of the investment.
On Sunday, the state People's Daily commented on the deal and criticized the practice of "hidden plagiarism."
Attempts by Reuters, Chaping, to comment on plagiarism allegations were unsuccessful.
Earlier on Monday, Chaping said in a statement that he considers it "inappropriate to receive a Tencent investment before a new round of copyright standardization is completed."
"Chaping will strive to grow independently and learn from the bug, taking greater responsibility in the area of copyright and original content protection," he added.
There are 20 million public accounts on WeChat, including 3.5 million monthly active like chaping, Tencent said, making it China's largest content publishing platform.
With more than 1 billion users, WeChat is China's most popular messenger-to-payment app. Popular public accounts with high traffic on WeChat deserve advertising, reader tips or e-commerce.
($ 1 = 6.3927 Chinese Yuan)
Report by Sijia Jiang; Arrangement by Anne Marie Roantree and Himani Sarkar