Tencent breaks down on Screen Time after Chinese state media calls gaming ‘spiritual opium’

Those fears were quelled on Tuesday after the Economic Information Daily – a business newspaper owned by the Xinhua News Agency, which is China’s official news outlet – published a lengthy analysis describing the harmful effects of gaming. Words like “opium” and “electronic drug” were used for this. on children.

“It turns out that ‘spiritual opium’ has grown into a billion-dollar industry,” the article read. Insiders warn: Beware of pitfalls of online games.

Post that is now done removed without explanation, Tencent’s popular video game “Honor of Kings” is mentioned as one of the games young people are accustomed and added that “industry insiders should be alert to the harmful effects of online games, and appropriate regulations should be adopted as soon as possible.”

Tencent shares fell more than 10% in Hong Kong on Tuesday, but recovered some losses End the day down 6%.

Tencent (TCEHY) It said in a statement that its new restrictions would limit the ability for minors to play “Honor of Kings” to one hour on non-holidays and On leave for two hours.

“Minors (primary school students) under the age of 12 are prohibited from spending in sports,” the company said.

It also called for an industry-wide discussion on “the feasibility of banning primary school students under the age of 12”. playing games.”

In recent years, the Chinese government has tried to reverse what it sees as a growing trend of gaming addiction among young people, although Tencent’s restrictions are stricter than people think. Beijing announced in 2019. According to those rules, players under the age of 18 are prohibited from playing online games between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. On weekdays, minors can play for up to 90 minutes, while they can play three games per day on weekends and holidays. Can play for hours.

heavy selling

attack in State media on the online gaming industry comes a week after Chinese tech stocks faced massive selloffs that have been wiped out. hundreds of billions Dollar market value.

Tencent alone lost more than $100 billion in market cap in 48 hours as investors worried about broader China crackdown. private sector.

As its shares plummeted, the Shenzhen-based company Temporarily suspended new user registration for its WeChat messaging platform. It said the move was related to the upgrade of its security systems, in accordance with “relevant laws and regulations”.

Tencent was also hit by a regulatory order last month to scrap its plans to acquire another music streaming player, China Music Corporation. Regulators cited competition concerns, noting that Tencent has long been leading the market.

In recent months, the Chinese tech giant has been caught in unprecedented action in areas ranging from ride-hailing to education. Analysts at Goldman Sachs said last week that since February, shares of foreign-listed Chinese tech firms have lost a whopping $1.2 trillion.

— Sasha Chua and Laura They contributed to this report.


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