NetEase's Cloud Music unit has sued Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) (TME.N)， accusing it of unfair competition and plagiarising its app design, the company said on Wednesday.
The move is the latest development in a long-running rivalry between the two Chinese tech giants who are vying to add users and sign popular musicians.
Features of TME's suite of music streaming apps allowed its users to sidestep copyright protection and play songs licensed by NetEase Cloud Music, the company said, accusing TME of copying the design and some features of its app.
"We urge TME to immediately rectify its products and businesses and stop all behaviours of unfair competition," NetEase Cloud Music said in a statement on its account on the Weibo social media platform.
In response, Mo Chen, head of branding and public relations at TME, made a post through his personal account on WeChat, Tencent's social networking app, on Wednesday, saying: "We at TME will not engage in the war of words … Related evidence has been preserved, and we have been filing for relevant legal proceedings."
TME declined to elaborate on Chen's statement.
Last year, Tencent was fined on anti-trust grounds and barred from signing exclusive music copyright pacts, prompting it to end all such deals.