(Yicai Global) May 25 -- Tencent’s WeMedia-focused venture capital arm will rethink its participation in the CNY30 million (USD4.7 million) A-round funding in WeChat-based news account Chaping following widespread accusations that the platform steals its content from other sources.
Tencent TOPIC fund will restart due diligence on the media channel, the Shenzhen-based company said in a statement, adding that it may withdraw from the round altogether.
The round, which was TOPIC fund's first-ever investment since its establishment last year, was greeted with widespread anger among other official accounts on the vastly-popular lifestyle app. They accuse the platform of plagiarizing and rewriting content from other sources, thereby violating intellectual property rights.
The tech giant’s high-profile founder Pony Ma responded personally through his WeChat account, expressing that although he was not aware of the issue Tencent would “settle the issue.”
Tencent has expanded rapidly in recent years, with external investments fats becoming a key part of the business besides its traditional internet focus. There has been widespread debate on social media in recent times, questioning whether the firm is still a “dream maker” or whether it is transitioning to a investment firm. The issue could have driven the increased response from online commentators regarding the Chaping investment.
The firm’s external investment in the first quarter this year reached CNY54 billion, twice the value of net profit during the period, Tencent’s interim report shows.
Editor: William Clegg