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Tencent boss to call for tighter governance on China's internet economy: state media

FILE PHOTO: Tencent's Chief Executive Officer Pony Ma attends an event marking the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China December 18, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

(Reuters) - The founder and CEO of technology giant Tencent Holdings plans to call for tighter governance of the internet economy at China’s parliamentary meeting in Beijing, state broadcaster China National Radio (CNR) said on Wednesday.

Pony Ma will make the proposal at the National People’s Congress (NPC), which starts on Friday, the report said. Hundreds of proposals are likely to be submitted at the annual gathering, though most are suggestions by individual delegates and are not discussed in parliament.

“It is recommended to carry out government guidance and development in specific areas such as online education, online healthcare and financial technology,” CNR cited Ma’s proposal as saying. Those are all areas in which Tencent is involved, though the report did not name specific businesses.

The proposal comes amid tighter scrutiny of China’s tech giants, with regulators having drafted anti-monopoly rules and guidelines in recent months to limit collection of personal data by mobile apps.

Peer-to-peer payment platforms, as well as long-term property rental, bike-sharing and community group-buying platforms must pay close attention to the security of users’ funds and be strictly monitored, CNR cited the proposal as saying.

China’s market regulator on Wednesday fined five community group-buying platforms, including one company backed by Tencent, for what the watchdog said was “improper pricing behaviour”.

Tencent, operator of China’s ubiquitous messenging service WeChat, said that Ma, an NPC delegate from Guangdong province, would submit the proposal in a personal capacity and not on behalf of the company.

Thousands of delegates will gather in Beijing for the meeting of parliament, at which China will announce goals for 2021 as well as its next five-year plan for economic development.

Reporting by Pei Li and Brenda Goh; Writing by Tom Daly; Editing by David Goodman

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