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Chinese tech giant Tencent told to suspend new app roll outs

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A visitor plays a mobile game at the booth of Tencent in Beijing, China.
A visitor plays a mobile game at the booth of Tencent in Beijing, China.

Technology giant Tencent has been told to halt the roll out of new apps in China.

The country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has also ordered a temporary suspension of updates to the products.

It comes as the technology industry regulator reviews compliance with privacy rules introduced this month.

However, current versions of the apps are still available to be downloaded and used as normal.

The suspension of new app roll outs and updates is expected to continue to the end of the year as they undergo technical testing by the regulator, the BBC understands.

"We are continuously working to enhance user protection features within our apps, and also have regular cooperation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance. Our apps remain functional and available for download," Tencent said in statement.

The move came after Beijing started to implement its Information Protection Law from the beginning of November.

The new rules are aimed to more tightly regulate how technology firms handle their users' data.

It is part of a wider policy by the Chinese government to increase its oversight of the country's technology companies.

State broadcaster CCTV reported that the MIIT had said all new app roll outs and updates from 24 November until the end of this year will be reviewed before they are allowed to be made available to the public.

In recent months the industry has seen a deluge of action taken against it, including crackdowns on ecommerce firms, online finance services, social media platforms, gaming companies, cloud computing providers, ride-hailing apps and cryptocurrency miners and exchanges.

Tencent, which is the world's biggest video games seller, owns the WeChat super app and QQ messaging platform.

The company's shares closed 3% lower in Hong Kong on Friday.

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