Summary of Tencent Gets a Big Thumbs Down from the Media After a Questionable Investment Decision

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Plagiarism in China’s online content industry is like a flock of locusts: massive in number, destructive and costly, and almost impossible to eradicate. But while the public used to shrug off the problem, more and more Chinese content creators are speaking up, taking a stance against piracy and demanding protection for their work. In May 2018, the fight against plagiarism took center stage when Tencent’s content investment fund Topic announced its decision to provide funding for Chaping, a WeChat wemedia account with a large following that is known for ripping off content from other blogs and wemedia accounts. Representatives of news media sites and bloggers protested, publishing collections of evidence against Chaping. Under substantial public pressure, Tencent CEO Ma “Pony” Huateng expressed regret that his team didn’t do its due diligence and promised to review the case. Days later, Chaping issued an official apology and turned down the investment. This rare win for original content creators is an encouraging sign that the content industry may begin to take copyrights more seriously. In this article (which was written before Chaping stepped back from the investment), Zhou Chaochen – senior editor of the tech and business media site Huxiu – explains why Tencent made this public relations blunder and scrutinizes the company’s questionable values. getAbstract recommends this article to content creators and everyone who cares about copyright protection. 

About the Author

Zhou Chaochen is a senior editor at Huxiu, a leading tech and business media site in China. 



On May 23, China’s tech giant Tencent announced a ¥30 million series A funding of Chaping, a media group that had found success through its WeChat wemedia account. Chaping means “Thumbs Down” or “Bad Review” and the group was one of Tencent’s first investments in tech-focused new media sites. Fittingly, the minute they announced their deal, Internet users and media representatives flooded Tencent and Chaping with thumbs-downs and bad reviews. Tencent’s initiative to support wemedia account owners was welcome news for content creators, but the problem was Tencent’s choice: Chaping is known for plagiarizing from news media sites and blogs. Tech media site Pingwest and popular bloggers San Biao and Keso have all been victims of Chaping’s “manuscript washing” in the past. (Manuscript washing is the Chinese term for taking an article’s title and content and making minor changes in the language without altering the article’s structure and core message.) Tencent’s support of Chaping brought the growing anger of the victimized content creators to a boiling point, and in the weeks following the announcement, bloggers and media representatives uploaded...