Taiwan turfs out video streamers run by China’s web giants

On regulatory grounds, but it’s hard not to chalk this up as more anti-China action

Taiwan has moved to turf out Chinese video-streamers operated by Tencent and Baidu.

A Tuesday notice from Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs makes it an offence for local businesses to facilitate Tencent’s WeTV and Baidu’s iQIYI in the nation. Neither operates in Taiwan, but both have found local proxies that bring their services into the island nation.

Now those businesses won’t be permitted to continue offering their services.

The ban comes into effect on September 3rd.

WeTV and iQIYI are often compared to Netflix, because they offer a blend of commissioned and acquired content delivered exclusively online. Each has over 100 million subscribers.

Taiwan’s language is Mandarin, making it one of the few markets outside China that offers the chance of expansion, so the decision will have economic repercussions.

Taiwan has framed the ban as bringing regulation of video-streamers into line with other laws governing the operation of Chinese businesses. But the ban also comes against a background of China being increasingly insistent that Taiwan – which it characterises as a rogue province – should again become part of a single Chinese nation.

The USA and India have also recently banned Chinese online services and apps on grounds of national security. But there’s also soft power and nationalism dimensions to those bans and Taiwan’s actions have been interpreted as having similar motives. ®

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