According to a statement from the National Press and Publications Administration, minors in China can only play games between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays starting September 1st.
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It restricts gaming to three hours a week for most of the year, less than the previous ban in 2019 that allows minors to play one and a half hours a day and three hours a day on public holidays. The new regulations affect some of China’s largest technology companies, including gaming giant Tencent, whose Honor of Kings online multiplayer game is widely popular around the world, as well as gaming company NetAge.
Shares of Tencent fell 0.6% to close at HK 46 465.80 on Monday before the regulator’s announcement. The মূল 573 billion market capitalization is less than its February peak of 300 300 billion, less than the total value of Nike Inc. or Pfizer Inc.
New York-listed NetEase’s stock market was down about 9% in the open.
Gaming bans are part of an ongoing crackdown on technology companies, amid concerns that technology companies – many of which provide ubiquitous messaging, payment and gaming services – could have an external impact on society.
Earlier this month, Tencent said it would limit gaming hours for minors to one hour a day and two hours on holidays, as well as prohibit children under the age of 12 from shopping at games.
The ban comes hours after a state-run newspaper criticized the gaming industry and called the games “spiritual opium.”
Regulators said in Monday’s notice that they would step up surveillance and increase the frequency of visits to online game companies so that they follow the rules closely.
In recent months, Chinese authorities have targeted e-commerce and online education and enacted new rules to curb anti-competitive behavior after years of rapid growth in the technology sector.
Last month, authorities barred companies providing tutoring on core school subjects from making a profit, removing billions of dollars from the market value of online education companies like TAL Education and Gaotu Techedu.
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