Taiwan to ban mainland audio, video, and other internet media

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs will today introduce a ban on audiovisual services offered by all Chinese “over-the-top” (OTT) providers,

iQiyi

Photo: REUTERS/Stringer

Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs will today introduce a ban on audiovisual services offered by all Chinese “over-the-top” (OTT) providers, including Baidu and Tencent.

Although Chinese providers had already been banned from offering services in Taiwan, Tencent and Baidu’s iQiyi platform moved to circumvent the ban via a regulatory loophole, which permitted the distribution of content through partnerships with local companies. Taiwanese companies are now prohibited from offering any intermediary services to Chinese entities and will face fines if caught working with OTT platforms that bypass cable or broadcast platforms. The government also plans to adopt more stringent standards for defining companies that are funded by Chinese investors.

The ban builds upon a multi-year effort by Taiwan to hold mainland Chinese companies to higher standards of scrutiny, as China-based tech companies face a global backlash over data privacy concerns; US President Donald Trump issued an order to ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat last month. Although Taiwan forms only a fraction of iQiyi and Tencent’s market share, the ban’s symbolic value highlights Taipei’s determination to crack down on Chinese influence over the island. In the short-term future, rising Sino-US tensions may force other South Asian states to take sides when assessing prospective business partnerships.