Tencent's WeChat content searchable on Google and Bing

By Laura Berrill
Tencent's WeChat makes its content searchable on foreign search engines including Google and Bing

This is according to reports by Reuters, in the latest tearing down of so-called "walled gardens" in China's internet sector.

Content from China's most popular messaging app WeChat, which includes articles and videos on its popular public accounts page - a function similar to a news portal - has opened to external search engines in the last few days. This is now other than Tencent's own Sogou search engine.

However Google is not available in China.

‘Walled gardens’

China's internet sector has previously long been dominated by a handful of technology giants who have historically blocked each others rivals' links, as well as their search crawlers. This practice is often referred to as 'walled gardens'.

And in recent months, this has been targeted by Chinese authorities as part of sweeping regulatory crackdowns.

User experience and consumer rights

Last month, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) ordered companies to stop blocking links, which they said has affected users' experience and damaged consumer rights.

Reportedly, the MIIT has been studying plans and conducting research to make WeChat content available on external search engines. So far MIIT and Tencent have not responded.

WeChat content however, is not yet searchable on Baidu, China's dominant search engine, according to Reuters checks. Baidu also hasn't responded yet.

Citi analysts have also reportedly said that the potential "opening up of the social ecosystem to search engines" was a positive development for Baidu, as its "leading search gateway position has been weakened and diluted by the growth and dominance of super apps."

 

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