Since Monday 30 August 2021, Chinese minors will only have access to one hour of video games from 8pm to 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays in order to fight against gaming addiction.
Online gaming companies will not be allowed to provide gaming services to minors outside this time frame and will have to implement identity verification systems.
Previously, China limited minors’ access to online gaming to three hours during holidays and one and a half hours at other times.
The new rules are part of a wider campaign of tightened controls by Beijing on Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings. This has raised investor concern and weighed on Chinese stocks in China and abroad.
Indeed, Chinese gaming stocks fell in US pre-market trading, with NetEase dropping more than 6% and mobile game publisher Bilibili falling 3%.
Shares in technology investment firm Prosus, which holds a 29% stake in Chinese social media and video game group Tencent, also fell 1.45%, while European online video game stocks Ubisoft and Embracer Groupe fell more than 2% each.
Tencent was particularly targeted by the measure: their game “Honor of Kings”, which has more than 100 million daily active users in China, had already been subject to restrictions by the group itself under pressure from the authorities. The latter had generated 2.5 billion dollars in revenue by 2020.
The State Administration of Press and Publication will also increase the frequency and intensity of inspections of online gaming companies to ensure that time limits and anti-addiction systems are in place, she told the New China.
Featured photo : © DA QING/ IMAGINECHINA