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China issues 60 new video game licenses, none for Tencent or NetEase

·1 min read
FILE PHOTO: People play online games on computers at an internet cafe in Beijing

By Josh Ye

HONG KONG (Reuters) -China's gaming regulator on Tuesday granted publishing licenses to 60 games, in a move likely to bring relief to a sector bruised by a regulatory crackdown and a lengthy suspension of gaming approvals.

The National Press and Public Administration (NPPA) published the June list on its website on Tuesday, which included titles belonging to developers such as Perfect World and Mihoyo.

Other titles included mostly smaller-budget games such as Jurassic Army by Shanghai Eyugame and Kittens' Courtyard by Beijing Object Online Technology.

The list, however, did not contain titles belonging to the industry's biggest players, such as Tencent Holdings and NetEase. Still, Tencent’s American Depository Receipts gained more than 1.54% following the news. NetEase also saw shares rise nearly 1.35% in pre-market trading in New York.

It also did not include any foreign titles, extending the dry spell for imported video games to 12 months.

The June list comes over a month after the last batch of licenses was announced on April 30. The NPPA did not publish a list in May, and has not given a reason why.

Prior to April, Chinese regulators stopped approving game monetisation licenses for nearly eight months, heavily impacting Tencent and NetEase and putting thousands of firms in the industry out of business.

That pause coincided with a move by China in August to impose new gaming time limits on under-18s, an intervention it said was needed to pull the plug on a growing addiction to what state media once described as "spiritual opium".

(Reporting by Josh Ye, Meg Shen and Twinnie SiuEditing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)