China aims to rein in mobile messaging apps with new regulations

The regulations target WeChat, a popular messaging app with 400 millon users

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

It's not clear why China has targeted the services now. But a local terrorist attack in May prompted the country to launch another campaign to stop online rumors. Police later arrested over 200 suspected militants, who had been relying on instant messaging services to organize, according to the nation's state-controlled press.

Thursday's regulations repeat what China has done in the past to control social networking sites in the country, said Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting in Beijing.

"We've seen this in the microblog space, and we're increasingly seeing it in the mobile messaging space," he said.

The new regulations probably won't derail China's WeChat, given that the restrictions only target public accounts, Natkin added.

"The majority of users use WeChat to communicate with their friends or business circles," he said. "If certain news feeds get dropped from the platform, it might become slightly less interesting to users. But overall people are using WeChat less for news."

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