Managers of large Chinese state-run companies have told employees to delete, shutdown and discontinue use of Tencent messaging app Weixin for work purposes, citing potential security breaches, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The news outlet named China Mobile, China Construction Bank and China National Petroleum among nine companies that confirmed the communication policy change, although none have officially gone on record.
Employees have reportedly also been warned to beware Weixin's sister app, WeChat. No details were given regarding what communication tools personnel were directed to use instead.
Tencent was quoted as saying: "Many companies around the world are moving towards enterprise software to meet their internal communications needs," before hawking its own business-grade wares – specifically office collaboration tool WeCom.
The news comes a day after China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued administrative guidance preventing Tencent updating existing apps or launching new ones. The regulatory body told platforms and app stores to implement the order on Tencent's more than 70 apps and 100 games. How long the order will last is not clear.
The move is just one of many recent government actions to rein in the nation's tech industry, of which Tencent is a leader. The internet giant found itself slapped with over 10 fines for undeclared M&A deals less than a week ago.
- Beijing issues fines for 43 Big Tech M&A deals all the way back to 2012
- Don't super-size me – China defines rules for 'super-large' platforms
- Beijing orders Alibaba, Tencent, more Big Tech to stop blocking links to rivals
- Google fiddles with cross-platform Flutter and Dart to boost performance, tooling
Beijing has also been cracking down on gaming – an activity it labels as "spiritual opium," or in other words really not good. That crackdown has hit Tencent pretty hard, slowing down revenue growth.
Last month, China's tech minister gave a rare interview in which he alluded to a national crackdown on internet and predatory companies. Exactly what Beijing believes is wrong with WeChat or Weixin with regard to security remains unclear, although data protection has been a key topic lately.
But it's not all doom and gloom for Tencent. Just yesterday the company announced the launch of its first data centre in São Paolo, Brazil, marking it's official entry to the Latin American market. This extends Tencent Cloud's reach across a total 27 regions and 68 availability zones. ®