In recent years, the Chinese government’s stance on copyrights has changed. They have introduced a series of new laws – or amendments to existing laws – that clamp down on copyright protection.
This has coincided with many Chinese tech companies acquiring key assets in the content publishing realm. The most notable of which is Tencent, a tech giant in China that owns significant shares in both Spotify and Universal Music. They’ve owned 9% of Spotify since 2017/2018, and a massive $3 billion investment in Universal Music will see them own 10% (possibly rising to 20%)
What does this mean?
The above example could be seen as proof that international music content is now a major asset in China. This is largely down to an increase in many content publishing platforms – like TikTok, ByteDance, and NetEase. These platforms all require huge amounts of copyrighted content, so acquiring international music seems like the perfect idea.
Essentially, what we take from this is that China now sees protection of copyright as beneficial in the growth of their tech companies. Alongside this, imported content is seen as valuable to technology’s growth. Using Tencent as an example, we can see this in action. They own the majority of China’s music streaming services, so they need content to fuel the platforms. By acquiring Universal Music, they have access to music that’s protected under the new copyright laws. As such, rival streaming businesses are unable to use it. Therefore, they offer something different.
Could we start to see an international content war in China? It’s certainly possible as more and more tech companies realize how valuable it is.
Written for Triumph Entertainment