ByteDance, the owner of TikTok and its Chinese sibling Douyin, has been tangling with fellow tech giant Tencent for some time in the courts with a series of tit-for-tat lawsuits.
ByteDance has just withdrawn one of the most intriguing allegations, originally filed in September 2019. It alleged unfair competition on the part of Tencent, claiming that the latter’s QQ and WeChat platforms were restricting the sharing of links to TikTok and Douyin between users, while freely allowing links to similar products owned by Tencent, like Weishi, Tencent Video and Kuaishou. Tencent’s dominant market position, the suit claimed, was thus being used unfairly.
Bytedance was seeking removal of the supposed restrictions and compensation of 90m Yuan (around $13.7m) – an amount hinting that the lawsuit was more strategic, perhaps aiming to draw attention to the issue.
Despite having withdrawn the suit, the questions about how the different Chinese tech giants deal with links to rivals’ apps posted to their platforms remain.