Chinese authorities have taken a firm stand on the time that their country’s children spend online playing games. The country is limiting the amount of time that the children can play video games and now they are only allowing three hours most weeks.
This is a drastic measure as China is the world’s largest mobile gaming market, and this move by the authorities is in line with Beijing’s signal that it would continue a campaign to control the expansion of large tech companies.
According to sources, Gaming platforms from Tencent Holdings Ltd. to NetEase Inc. can only offer online gaming to minors from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends, and public holidays. These tough measures will most likely be a nightmare for investors who had cautiously returned to Chinese stocks in recent days, exploring bargains after a raft of regulatory probes into areas from online commerce to data security.
“This ruling is the strictest one to date and will essentially wipe out most spending from minors, which we note was already extremely low.”
according to information, Beijing has set up a top-level committee led by President Xi Jinping in efforts to prevent the “disorderly expansion of some platform companies”. It is also reported that this committee has been extremely successful and also that Beijing is vowing “more transparency and predictability” in setting policies.
The president of the country told the meeting that anti-monopoly policies were a requirement for improving China’s economy. After these measures, it was reported that Netease slid as much as 9.3% in pre-market trading in New York, while Prosus NV, Tencent’s biggest shareholder, fell in Europe.
“Three hours per week is too tight. Such a policy will harm Tencent too,” said Steven Leung, an executive director at UOB Kay Hian (Hong Kong) Ltd. “I thought regulatory measures would take a break gradually, but it’s not stopping at all. It will hurt the nascent tech rebound for sure.”
Other key points in the new rules include:
- All online games should be linked to a state anti-addiction system, and companies can’t provide services to users without real-name registrations
- Regulators will ratchet up checks over how gaming firms carry out restrictions on things like playing time and in-game purchases
- Regulators will work with parents, schools, and other members of society to combat youth gaming addiction