According to Reuters, which cited three unidentified sources, the meeting was requested by Tencent, and took place earlier this month with China’s competition watchdog, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR).
In a statement Wednesday, Tencent stressed that the gathering “was a voluntary meeting.”
“Tencent has had meetings with regulators on a regular basis, and this was a regular meeting,” it said. “We discussed a broad range of topics, mainly focused on fostering innovation and creating a healthy environment for industry evolution. Tencent has always and will continue to conduct our operations in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.”
SAMR did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to two sources who spoke to Reuters, Chinese officials are looking into potential monopolistic practices by WeChat, Tencent’s popular social networking app. Regulators are specifically concerned that the platform may have “squashed fair competition and squeezed smaller rivals,” the news agency reported.
Late last year, Alibaba’s financial technology affiliate, Ant Group, was forced to shelve a record-breaking $37 billion IPO after co-founder Jack Ma landed in hot water with regulators.
Martin Lau, Tencent’s president, said on a call with Wall Street analysts Wednesday that the company didn’t push the boundaries of China’s regulations.
“We are very self-restrained in terms of monetization and our business practices,” Lau said. “I think we sometimes get a criticism on being too much in self-control. But that’s something that we’ll continue to do, and we think it’s going to be beneficial for us in the current environment.”
— CNN’s Beijing bureau and Laura He contributed to this report.