BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) -- China's top market regulator on Saturday ordered Tencent Holdings Ltd. and its affiliated companies to relinquish exclusive rights to music labels.
To restore market competition, Tencent and its affiliated companies must end their exclusive music copyrights within 30 days and stop charging high prepayment and other copyright fees, according to an online statement released by China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR).
Tencent should not demand superior treatment compared to competitors from copyright owners without justified reasons, the SAMR added.
The company was also fined 500,000 yuan (about 77,340 U.S. dollars), according to the SAMR.
China's market regulator started investigation into Tencent in January after receiving market reports about the company's acquisition of China Music Corporation (CMC) in July 2016 which could cause market dominance.
The probe showed that Tencent owned more than 80 percent of exclusive music library resources following its acquisition of CMC.
The status could give the company ability to get better trade terms compared with other competitors or make rivals' entry harder, said the SAMR.
This is the first ruling since China took necessary measures to restore market competition since the introduction of antitrust law, said the SAMR.
Those penalizing measures will help reshape the competition and lower the barrier for market entry, it said.
It is also conducive to reducing operation costs, nurturing new market players, providing a fairer competition environment for existing companies and safeguarding consumers' rights of choice, it added. Enditem