China targets Tencent's WeChat with new IM rules

|About: Tencent Holding Ltd. ADR (TCEHY)|By:, SA News Editor

The Chinese government is requiring mobile messaging users with public accounts (celebrities, businesses, etc.) to register with their real names. It's also banning the sharing of "unauthorized" political news.

The curbs are aimed in large part at Tencent's (OTCPK:TCEHY) WeChat, which has grown like wildfire and evolved into a platform for gaming, e-commerce, and much else. WeChat had 396M monthly active users at the end of Q1; Tencent should report a figure well above 400M during its Aug. 13 Q2 report.

SINA's Weibo (NASDAQ:WB) has long been dealing with government crackdowns. A number of Weibo users have defected to WeChat in past quarters, while citing greater privacy and lighter censorship.

At the same time, China is flat-out banning two Korean WeChat rivals: KakaoTalk and Naver's (OTC:NHNCF) Line. Line, the top mobile messaging platform in Japan, is set to go public in NYC and Tokyo.