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Taiwan seeks to ban Chinese streaming giants including iQiyi and Tencent

Taiwan plans to join India and the US in banning certain Chinese tech platforms in order to prevent them from “operating illegally” in the country through local agents and distributors.

The ban, which starts from 3 September, will apply to streaming and entertainment giants like Baidu’s iQiyi and Tencent. It will prohibit Taiwanese individuals and organisations from working with these mainland Chinese companies.

According to Taiwan’s ministry of economic affairs, iQiyi applied in 2016 to set up a Taiwan subsidiary, but it rejected the application as online streaming is not on the list of permitted services open to mainland Chinese operators.

Online streaming by Chinese companies violate the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area as it stipulates Chinese companies can only invest in certain categories of goods and services.

Why is this happening?

  • iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV currently circumvent the restrictions by forming alliances with local broadcasters and distributors to promote and sell their video streaming services on the island.
  • iQiyi is reported to have six million subscribers across Taiwan, according to Taipei Times and has a partnership with Taiwanese company OTT Entertainment to promote and sell its services on the island.
  • iQiyi claimed its Taiwan site exceeded 1.7 billion views last year, with its show The Legend of Haolan surpassing one million views within 28 hours.
  • WeTV, which debuted in Taiwan in 2019, hit over one million downloads across Taiwan’s iOS and Android stores on the first day of 2020.
  • TikTok’s US user data is stored in the US and its biggest investors come from the US, but the Trump government believes the platform is sharing information with the Chinese government, citing China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for Hong Kong.