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China to Enforce Stricter Regulations on Chinese Live-Streaming Sites

China to Enforce Stricter Regulations on Chinese Live-Streaming Sites

(Andreessen Horowitz)
ByMei Manuel November 05, 2016
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On Friday, the Cyberspace Administration of China has announced that they have finalized the controversial rules on the country's live-streaming video industry and introduced the 24-point regulation that it aims to impose by December 1.

Under the new guidelines, live streaming sites are required to log user data and content for 60 days and work with the regulators to give informaiton on the users who stream content that the government sees threatening to the country's national security and social order. Once found guilty, both the user and the provider will be punished under the new regulations.

The law also codified the rules which bans online news broadcasting services from original reporting, requiring them to cite their sources and non-selectively reproduce state-sanctioned information.

For the past couple of years, the live-streaming industry in China has grown exponentially as several video and social media sites have added live video streaming to their existing services. According to Credit Suisse Group, the industry may even reach $5 billion by 2017 due to the cheap bandwidth in the country and the growing population of young mobile phone users who use these services.

However, this growth caught the attention of several groups, especially the government in 2016 because in April, Chinese authorities had called on to 20 of the country's top firms to create a self-criticism coalition and said that the live streaming industry is damaging Chinese youth as it allows them to proliferate content like pornography, terrorism and fraud.

In response to this self-criticism coalition, some of the country's top live streaming sites like Baidu, Sina Corp, Sohu.com Inc and Youku Tudou imposed new rules such as requiring users to authenticate their registration with their real names. Considering the restrictions that will now be imposed in these firms, it highlights that the government is now taking an active role in sanctioning the industry and checking its progress regularly. These rules would also enable growth for small high profile entities that are noted to be supporting the government's effort.

Prior to the announcement, the government has already given out 588 licenses in May to known media outlets and live-streaming sites, which effectively banned those without licenses.

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