China to import 45 foreign video games, grants multiple licences | Business and Economy

The move marks the latest easing of stringent regulations that have hit China’s gaming industry since last August.

China’s video game regulator has granted publishing licenses to 45 foreign games, including seven in South Korea, easing harsh restrictions that have plagued the industry for nearly 18 months.

South Korean gaming stocks including Netmarble Corp, NCSOFT, Krafton, Kakao Games and Devsisters jumped between 2-17% in Thursday morning trading, a day after Chinese authorities granted their publishing licenses.

According to a list released by the regulator, among the imported online games approved by the National Press and Publication Administration are Nintendo’s “Pokémon Unite” and Riot Games’ “Valorant,” which will be published by Tencent Holdings. there is one

Regulators also approved 84 domestic games in December, according to a separate list released Wednesday. The approval of imported games marks the virtual end of Beijing’s crackdown on the video game industry that began last August when regulators suspended the game approval process.

Regulators resumed issuing gaming licenses to domestic games in April, and approval of foreign games was considered the last regulatory restriction to be removed.

Unlike most other countries, releasing a video game in China, the world’s largest gaming market, requires regulatory approval.

Beijing’s crackdown on the industry has hit Chinese tech companies such as Tencent and NetEase hard. These companies generate significant revenue from publishing both homegrown and imported games.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, effectively received a total of six licenses in December through various affiliates, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Tencent won its first commercial gaming license in over a year and a half last month, which was seen at the time as an important signal for policy normalization in the industry. Other approved import games include CD Projekt’s CDR.WA ‘Gwent: The Witcher Card Game’ and Klei Entertainment’s ‘Don’t Starve’.

Besides Tencent, NetEase, ByteDance, XD Inc and iDreamSky also received game approval in December.

Shares of Tencent, XD Inc and iDreamSky rose between 0.8% and 5.2% in Hong Kong, while Nintendo of Japan gained 0.2%.

The number of licenses granted is lower than in previous years. China has approved 76 imported games in 2021 and 456 in 2017.

At this month’s year-end conference, Tencent founder Pony Ma said the company will have to get used to Beijing’s strict licensing regime, and the number of new games China will approve will be limited in the long run. Stated.

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