TikTok owner ByteDance sues Tencent in China

ByteDance claims Tencent has been blocking Douyin content.

Sanji Feng / Engadget Chinese

Two of China’s most visible tech companies are going to court. On Tuesday, TikTok owner ByteDance sued Tencent, according to Bloomberg. ByteDance claims Tencent broke the country’s antitrust laws by blocking people from accessing content from Douyin on WeChat and QQ. Tencent’s messaging apps need no introduction. Between the two of them, they have close to 2 billion monthly active users. Douyin, meanwhile, is a more expansive version of TikTok that is only available in China.

ByteDance is asking the court for approximately $14 million in compensation from Tencent and to stop the company’s actions. ”We believe that competition is better for consumers and promotes innovation,” a spokesperson for ByteDance told Bloomberg. “We have filed this lawsuit to protect our rights and those of our users.”

The two companies have feuded several times over the years, but this is the first time ByteDance has challenged its rival from the antitrust angle. The suit, likely not by accident, comes mere months after China opened an investigation into Jack Ma’s Alibaba group. Of course, Chinese tech companies aren’t the only ones facing antitrust scrutiny from local regulators. Google is currently the subject of three separate lawsuits in the US, with another one potentially on the way. In December, the Federal Trade Commission, along with 48 attorneys general, filed antitrust charges against Facebook.