China’s technology giant Tencent must get approval from Chinese regulators before rolling out new apps and updates as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) increases its oversight of some of the country’s biggest technology companies.
The move comes after the regulators found several of Tencent’s apps violated data protection rules on several occasions this year, CNBC reported, citing state broadcaster CCTV.
Accordingly, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will review any new apps and updates from Tencent before the company can launch them, and it could take seven days.
“We are continuously working to enhance user protection features within our apps, and also have regular cooperation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance,” a Tencent spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added Tencent’s apps remain functional and available for download.
The CCP has tightened rules on the domestic tech sector over the past year after mainly growing unencumbered by regulation. The CCP introduced rules in several areas, from antitrust to the way algorithms can be used.
Earlier this year, the CCP passed a regulation on personal data protection that focuses on how companies collect and process data. The new action against Tencent is part of that oversight process.
The move is another blow for Tencent after China’s regulators in August introduced rules that limited children under 18 years old to just three hours of online video games a week.
Tencent is the world’s biggest video game seller. The firm also owns the WeChat super app and QQ messaging platform.
The government’s regulatory crackdown on other areas, such as the education sector, has weakened advertising appetite, which weighed on Tencent’s earnings.