China’s Tencent fires over 100 for fraud, embezzlement

Last Update: January 16, 2023, at 12:49 pm

Tencent has been hit hard by a regulatory crackdown on video games by Beijing. (Photo: shutterstock)

Tencent is the world’s top video game maker and owner of WeChat but has struggled in late 2020 under a sweeping regulatory crackdown on China’s tech sector.

Chinese tech giant Tencent said on Monday it had fired more than a hundred employees for violating company policies, some handed over to police and later found guilty of bribery and embezzlement.

The Hong Kong-listed company is the world’s top video game maker and owner of popular super-app WeChat, but has struggled in late 2020 under a sweeping regulatory crackdown on China’s tech sector.

In a statement, the firm – which reported its second straight quarter of decline in revenue in November – said it had found more than 100 employees guilty of violating its anti-fraud policy.

It said more than 10 were transferred to China’s public security organ.

“In response to corruption and fraud problems within the company, Tencent’s anti-fraud investigation department continued to strengthen its crackdown and investigate and settle a number of violations with common problems,” the firm said.

There has been an increase in the number of cases and personnel investigated and disposed of during 2022 as compared to 2021.

Those accused were found to have embezzled company funds and accepted bribes, it added, a number were referred to the police and some were found guilty in court.

Many of those sacked and accused of corruption were part of the company’s PCG arm, which oversees its vast content production, from news to sports and movies.

But they also span Tencent’s other businesses, including cloud computing and fintech.

Specifically, one employee was found guilty of “accepting bribes from non-state employees” and sentenced to three years in prison, the company said.

The company’s CEO Pony Ma told an internal staff meeting last month that the level of corruption at the firm was “shocking”, state media reported.

Tencent has been hit hard by a regulatory crackdown on video games by Beijing, with hundreds of firms pledging to scrub “politically harmful” content from their products and curb underage players to comply with government demands. took.

But the firm has shown signs of revival, with its share price nearly doubling in Hong Kong since October 28, when it hit a low not seen since 2017.

The firm was also awarded its first license for a video game in 18 months last month, hurting profits for the world’s top game maker.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)