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Taiwan looks to ban mainland Chinese streaming services

A new law has been drafted to block the likes of Tencent and iQIIY from operating on the island

  • Dennis Rollins
  • 21 July 2020
Taiwan looks to ban mainland Chinese streaming services

Taiwanese lawmakers have drafted a bill aimed at prohibiting mainland Chinese streaming services on the island, including key-players Tencent and iQIYI. The proposed law sets out a multitude of regulations and will punish local service providers for working with the Chinese 'over-the-top' (OTT) platforms.

Over the coming weeks, legislators will discuss and finalise the draft before submitting it for rubber-stamping by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan. If passed in its present form, the “Internet Audiovisual Service Management Law” would ban streaming services, including Tencent Music and Tencent Video, among others, and allow government powers to fine service providers for infractions.

The legislation comes amid an atmosphere of growing tension in the wake of China passing its controversial security law in Hong Kong. It proposes fines of up to NT $5 million ($169,000) for local telecommunications companies and internet service providers that supply OTT streaming services from bodies in mainland China. The law would also prevent Taiwanese companies from providing internet, cloud storage, or other services and equipment to streaming companies deemed illegal, in a move aimed at thwarting international partnership workarounds from mainland Chinese companies.

According to Taiwanese media, the bill is being initiated by the country's National Communications Commission in an attempt to oppose what it percieves as the Communist Party of China’s increasing interference in local affairs. The NCC has stated that it wishes to regulate OTT services offered in Taiwan and aims to specifically target mainland Chinese operators that have been supplying streaming services on the island without a permit.

Other streaming giants such as Netflix, as well as local players Catchplay and FriDay, may also be obliged to register with the NCC and provide regular business records. Until the draft is finalised it remains to be seen how the bill will impact upon such services. Mixmag Asia will report new information when it arises.