According to a variety of media sources, Taiwan is preparing to ban iQiyi and Tencent from operating streaming video services on the island, the latest in a series of moves by governments around the world against Chinese tech giants.
According to a government notice, from the Taiwan's National Communications Commission (TNCC), that was published last week, Tencent Video and iQiyi have been "operating illegally" in Taiwan by partnering with local broadcasters and distributors to provide their video content through streaming services.”
The notice says that in order to stop individuals, local broadcasters and streaming media services from working with IQiyi and Tencent, new regulations prohibit Taiwanese individuals and companies from providing services to mainland Chinese streaming operators and distributing their content.
The TNCC decision at this point, while a public-comment period of 14-days is in effect, and unless the TNCC reverses course, the new rules will take effect on September 3rd.
Various media sent questions to both iQiyi and Tencent asking for their response, but at the time of writing, neither company had commented.
Taiwan has a population of around 23.8 million people, so even if their services are stopped, the economic damage to each company will be extremely limited.
In a recent earnings report, Tencent said its video service had 114 million subscribers and iQiyi reported 105 million subscribers. The vast majority of those subscribers are in mainland China, according to analysts.
Tencent Video and iQiyi both offer services that include streaming licensed content, and produce original television shows and movies that have become popular with Mandarin-speaking audiences.
Die-hard subscribers in Taiwan have said they aren’t worried about any government ban, since many people have VPN services and can therefore access any and all sites that the Taiwan government, and mainland China government might decide to block.