China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has reportedly asked major tech firms, including Alibaba and Tencent to stop blocking normal access to one another's website links.
Details: The MIIT on September 9 held an administrative guidance meeting on the problem of internet firms' link-blocking activities, according to the state-owned 21st Century Business Herald.
The ministry also proposed standards for instant messaging services, telling them that all platforms must be unblocked by September 17 or face penalties under the law.
Companies, including Alibaba, Tencent, ByteDance, Baidu, and Huawei, attended the meeting, the report said.
Context: Blocking links to restrict each other's entry was initiated by Tencent and Alibaba, and it used to be a common tactic among Chinese internet companies to prevent rivals from entering their own ecosystem.
As China has stepped up its crackdown on monopolistic behavior in the tech sector, Alibaba and Tencent are also actively making changes.
In July, Wall Street Journal reported that Alibaba and Tencent are considering moves to gradually open up their services to one another.
Alibaba's initial steps may include introducing Tencent's WeChat Pay into Alibaba's e-commerce markets Taobao and Tmall. Tencent could make it easier to share Alibaba e-commerce listings on its WeChat messaging app, or allow selected Alibaba services to access WeChat users via so-called mini-programs.