Tencent scraps investment in Media Company Chaping after the latter faces criticism for 'hidden plagiarism'

Tencent Holdings, a Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate whose subsidiaries specialize in various Internet-related services and products, which owns China’s top social media app WeChat, has scrapped an investment of up to CNY 30 million ($4.7 million) in a content start-up that has been criticized online and by state media for its handling of copyright issues.

News of Tencent’s investment in Chaping, a WeChat-based online media company whose name means “bad review”, had spurred questions about Tencent’s commitment to protecting intellectual property that is at the core of its own content business spanning publishing, entertainment and gaming.

Tencent is Asia’s second-most valuable company and one of the region’s most active investors. The investment in Chaping was initially done by Tencent’s new content-focused TOPIC fund which is dwarfed by international mega deals done in recent months by the company.

Last week, in the wake of mounting criticism, Tencent had said it was conducting stricter due diligence on the Chaping deal and may “negotiate to return its stake” if it was found that it did not match Tencent’s values, reversing an earlier statement defending the investment adding that it would “continue to respect and protect original content” with enhanced measures, objected  by state-run People’s Daily which ran a commentary on the deal, criticising the practice of “hidden plagiarism”. Though Attempts by Reuters to reach Chaping for a comment regarding allegations of plagiarism were unsuccessful.

Later Chaping said in a statement that it believed it was “inappropriate to receive an investment from Tencent before a new round of copyright standardization is completed”. “Chaping will endeavour to grow independently and learn from the mistake, take on greater responsibility in the field of copyright and original content protection,” it added.


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