Tencent’s WeChat makes content searchable on Google and Bing

Small figurines can be seen in front of the WeChat logo in this illustration photo taken on March 15, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

BEIJING, Oct. 22 (Reuters) – Tencent’s WeChat (0700.HK) has made its content searchable on some foreign search engines such as Google owned by Alphabet (GOOGL.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) Bing, according to verifications of Reuters, in the latest dismantling of “walled gardens” in the Internet industry in China.

Content from China’s most popular messaging app, WeChat, including articles and videos on its popular public accounts page, a feature similar to a news portal, has opened up to external search engines , other than Tencent’s Sogou search engine, in recent days.

Tencent, Google and Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Google is not available in China.

China’s internet industry has long been dominated by a handful of tech giants who have historically blocked the links of their rivals as well as their search bots. The practice is often referred to as “walled gardens”.

In recent months, this practice has been targeted by Chinese authorities as part of a broad regulatory crackdown.

Last month, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) ordered companies to stop blocking links, which they said affected user experience and violated rights. of consumers. Read more

MIIT has studied plans and conducted research to make WeChat content available on external search engines, according to a person with direct knowledge.

MIIT and Tencent did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

However, WeChat’s content is not yet searchable on Baidu, the dominant search engine in China, according to Reuters checks. Baidu did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Citi analysts said in a Tuesday note that the potential to “open up the social ecosystem to search engines” was a positive development for Baidu, as its “position as a leading search gateway was weakened and diluted by the growth and dominance of super apps “.

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Kim Coghill

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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