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China's JD.com withdraws sale of unapproved gaming titles -state media

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BEIJING, Sept 3 (Reuters) - China's JD.com has told sellers that it will withdraw the sale of 87 games including Activision Blizzard Inc's "Call of Duty" and Nintendo's "Animal Crossing: New Horizon", saying they were unapproved titles, local media reported.

The company, one of China's largest e-commerce platforms which also hosts third-party sellers, issued the notice on Thursday, the state-backed China Youth Daily newspaper said on Friday.

The games can no longer be sold on JD.com's marketplace, and the company will manage this closely, it said, adding it planned to apply "high pressure" on the issue, the newspaper cited JD.com as saying.

JD.com did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It was unclear what prompted the company's move, but it follows new rules issued by Chinese regulators restricting young people under the age of 18 from playing online games more than three hours a week to curb gaming addictions.

Games need approval from Chinese regulators before they are able to be sold in the world's largest video games market. However, players can sometimes get titles on the grey market via third-party sellers on e-commerce platforms.

The ruling Communist Party's publicity department on Thursday also called for audits of gaming content to be strengthened in a lengthy critique of its culture and entertainment sectors.

Chinese technology firms have in recent months been subject to heightened scrutiny from regulators who have cracked down on a multitude of issues including monopolistic behaviour and consumer rights.

(Reporting by Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; editing by David Evans)