Taiwan may ban iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV, two of China’s most popular streaming services next month.
The decision came as the government prepares to address regulatory loopholes that enable them to operate through local partnerships makes.
However, iQiyi and WeTV will still be accessible if subscribers are willing to, use cross-border payment services to pay for subscriptions in China and deal with slower connections.
The services iQiyi and WeTV violate the Act Governing Relations between the people of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, which insists Chinese companies, can only invest in certain categories of goods and services, according to the notice.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs Taiwan said in its announcement that iQiyi and Tencent’s WeTV started operations in the country through illegal partnerships, working through their Hong Kong subsidiaries to strike pacts with the companies in Taiwan.
In an announcement this week, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said that the Taiwan companies and individuals will be prohibited from providing services for OTT companies based in China.
In April, the National Communications Commission (NCC) Taiwan announced that mainland Chinese OTT companies were not allowed to operate in Taiwan under the Act governing relations between the Taiwan region and the people of the Mainland region. Cabinet spokesman Kolas Yotaka said at the time, “The Chinese firm and his Taiwanese partner were working on the edges of the law.”
But NCC spokesperson Wong Po-Tsung said the proposed regulation isn’t solely targeted at Chinese OTT operators. He said, “The act was necessary because the cable television service operators have asked that the commission apply across-the-board standards to regulate all audiovisual service platforms, which should include OTT services. It was not restricted just to address the problems caused by iQiyi and other Chinese OTT operators.”
Wong added that Taiwan is a democratic country and its government will not block people from watching content material from iQiyi and other Chinese streaming services.
Companies in Taiwan if found breaking the act after it has been passed will face fines of about USD 1,700 to USD 170,000.
An iQiyi representative said that the company was fully committed to protecting the rights and interests of its users.
Chinese companies have been facing global criticism over national security and data privacy. The world is adopting a tough stance against China with the US and India banning many Chinese apps in recent weeks, including TikTok.