|Bid||54.36 x 1400|
|Ask||54.38 x 900|
|Day's Range||54.01 - 54.68|
|52 Week Range||39.85 - 78.98|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.94|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||24.83|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.37 (0.67%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
Amazon back in the spotlight over privacy concerns. Workers of the tech giant are reportedly viewing video clips from its cloud camera home device to improve its AI analytics. TechCrunch Senior Writer Anthony Ha, joined On The Move to discuss.
NBA tensions with China are escalating after the league's fan event slated to happen in Shanghai today was canceled and a press event postponed. Dan Joseph, author of "China Learning Curve" joins Yahoo Finance's Akiko Fujita to discuss. He touches on how to avoid offending China amid political
Fortnite's developer "Epic Games" is getting political. The company told The Verge that players would not be punished for speaking out on hot-button topics like the Hong Kong protests. This comes as gamers are calling for a boycott against Activision Blizzard after the company banned and stripped prize money away from a top player of its online game "Hearth-Stone," for saying a pro-Hong Kong message on a live stream. Yahoo Finance's Zack Guzman and Sibile Marcellus break it down with Executive Chairman of Edelman Financial Engines, Ric Edelman and Gaming and E-sports Consultant, Rod "Slasher" Breslau.
Yahoo Finance's Jen Rogers, Akiko Fujita and Tendayi Kapfidze - Lending Tree Chief Economist discuss the latest company targeted by China.
(Bloomberg) -- Activision Blizzard Inc., facing the threat of a boycott, reduced the punishment it meted out to a tournament player who voiced support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators.The company’s Blizzard Entertainment division originally barred the player from events for a year and stripped him of some $10,000 in prize money. But it said at the end of the week that it would cut the ban to six months and pay his winnings.The reversal followed an uproar from customers and even U.S. lawmakers, who felt Blizzard was kowtowing to China by punishing the player. Some analysts worried the boycott might take a toll on a company that’s already suffered recent upheaval.“This represents a new risk,” Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz said in a note earlier this week. “though at present one that is very hard to evaluate.”It all started when Chung Ng Wai, a gamer who goes by the name Blitzchung, wore a gas mask and chanted a pro-Hong Kong slogan in an interview after a tournament. Blitzchung plays Hearthstone, an online card game from Blizzard.China considers support for the demonstrators an affront to the nation and its people, and Blizzard treated it as a grave offense. Blizzard said he violated its rules against an act that “brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard image.”But customers and even some Blizzard workers felt the reaction was too extreme. In the furor that ensued, several employees staged a protest at its offices in Orange County, California. They covered up a plaque that read “Every Voice Matters” and held up umbrellas -- a symbol of the Hong Kong protesters.“In hindsight, our process wasn’t adequate, and we reacted too quickly,” J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, said in the statement. Still, he added that “if this had been the opposing viewpoint delivered in the same divisive and deliberate way, we would have felt and acted the same.”Fans calling for a boycott also complained that they had trouble canceling their subscriptions to the company’s games, which include the hit Overwatch. Among the gripes: that they had to show government identification to cancel and that other roadblocks were put in place.Server Overload?Some of the cancellation complaints may have been overblown. The video-game site Polygon said the roadblocks probably stemmed from Blizzard’s servers being overloaded, not a deliberate attempt to keep users from deleting their accounts.Video-game companies have had to grapple more with free-speech issues in recent years, now that esports -- gaming competitions that are broadcast to millions of fans -- are such a big part of the industry. The maker of League of Legends, a division of Tencent Holdings, said this week that it won’t let broadcasters discuss “sensitive” topics, including political or religious issues.For Activision Blizzard, the boycott threat came at a particularly difficult time. The Santa Monica, California-based company has struggled to come up with fresh hits, and executive turnover is high. The heads of Activision Blizzard’s three major divisions have been replaced over the past year, as was its chief financial officer, who quit.And the company is counting on customers embracing a mobile version of its hit shooting game Call of Duty, done in partnership with Tencent, which has also invested in Activision Blizzard.The company also is preparing for Blizzcon, its big fan convention held in Anaheim, California, in early November. Attendees have threatened to come dressed as Winnie the Pooh, which has become a symbol of resistance against the Chinese government.“We suspect that the decision to punish Blitzchung, which almost certainly had input from senior Activision management, was met with dismay by a meaningful portion of Blizzard’s staff,” Creutz said. “Investors are counting on a turnaround at Blizzard to reinvigorate growth, but if the internal culture is in turmoil, there is a lot of risk to that thesis.”Blitzchung’s punishment stood in stark contrast to how the NBA handled its China controversy this week. In that case, the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the Hong Kong protests, right before the league was due to play a couple of preseason games in China. But the league didn’t punish Morey and has instead endured a backlash from Chinese authorities and sponsors there.Activision’s reaction also contrasted with that of Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, the creator of Fortnite. Sweeney, whose company also has Tencent as a significant shareholder, said on Twitter this week that he supports free speech.“Epic supports the rights of Fortnite players and creators to speak about politics and human rights,” he said.To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at email@example.com, Rob GolumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The game publisher was at the center of controversy after it suspended a top e-sports player for expressing his support of the Hong Kong protesters. The National Basketball Association and (AAPL)(AAPL) were also tripped up by the Hong Kong situation during the past week, with an NBA executive tweeting support for the Hong Kong protesters and Apple pulling an app that was used by them. Despite it all, Apple shares still closed at an all-time high on Friday, while Activision was only off 1.1% for the week.
As Activision Blizzard Inc. faces a backlash from the gaming community for siding with China over the Hong Kong protests, one analyst is concerned that internal backlash within Blizzard may be more harmful for the company as a clash of corporate cultures comes to a head.
(Bloomberg) -- Tencent Holdings Ltd. can’t get a break.The National Basketball Association, Activision Blizzard Inc. and now one of its most important portfolio companies, Fortnite proprietor Epic Games Inc., have all sparked political controversy at a time of increasingly assertive Chinese nationalism online.A tweet by an NBA executive expressing support for Hong Kong protesters drew the ire of Beijing, throwing into question the billions Tencent has invested in the U.S. sports league. Then Blizzard, partly owned by Tencent, banned a gamer for endorsing Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, triggering a boycott of the company’s games for its apparent kowtowing to China. Most recently, Epic Chief Executive Officer Tim Sweeney tweeted his disagreement with the Blizzard action, eliciting calls for a boycott of its Fortnite game among Chinese players incensed by the perceived slight.At stake for Tencent are billions of dollars in ad and subscription revenue, along with its entire strategy of becoming a go-to destination for NBA broadcasts. Tencent had almost half a billion basketball aficionados tune in last season. That audience is now in jeopardy after Tencent halted game broadcasts in the wake of the Hong Kong controversy.“It’s a big wakeup call for Chinese tech companies,” said Mark Tanner, founder of Shanghai-based research and marketing company China Skinny.Tencent had just inked a $1.5 billion, five-year deal to stream NBA games online in China. Its suspension of broadcasts followed a similar move by state-backed CCTV.Tencent uses the online streams to sell ads, and the gargantuan scale of the audience drives its marketing business, which is expected to be a key driver of Tencent growth going forward. To spruce up its investment, Tencent has been developing memorabilia, entertainment shows and video games based on the NBA.“Advertising of Tencent sports will likely take a hit. NBA is the star of Tencent sports, so it could cause a contract of Tencent’s advertising growth further,” said Michael Norris, a Shanghai-based research and strategy analyst at consultancy AgencyChina.NBA China Woes Threaten Billions of Dollars, Decades’ WorkA single tweet from the Houston Rockets’ general manager supporting Hong Kong’s protesters was enough to spark a chain reaction, including an abridged history lesson by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, majority owner of the Brooklyn Nets. Alibaba has also yanked Rockets merchandise from its online stores, causing harm to both the NBA and Alibaba’s bottom line.After initially apologizing, the league went on to express its support for staff’s freedom of political expression via a statement by Commissioner Adam Silver. That sparked another round of fury in China, threatening to prolong the clash and the blackout.The Chinese company’s shares have held up well so far, despite warnings from analysts including Citigroup’s Alicia Yap that the streaming freeze will hurt Tencent’s media ad revenue -- particularly if it extends into the regular season.But there’s more trouble ahead: Tencent’s gaming portfolio is spurring controversy too. For years, the WeChat operator took a hands-off approach with the startups and studios across its empire, reaping the benefits of importing Western content and technology for a vast Chinese market. Now the two are increasingly at odds, and Tencent is beginning to realize the downside to its passive approach.Blizzard’s stern reprimand of the pro-Hong Kong player was popular in China, but drew outrage from the U.S. to South Korea. Online, gamers called for a boycott of the company and proudly posted their cancellations.Then Epic CEO Sweeney jumped into the crossfire, explicitly giving Fortnite players the green light to discuss politics. The game maker is 40% owned by Tencent, but Sweeney is the controlling shareholder.His statement earned accolades in the U.S., but was shunned in China. “Tencent why are you not holding your dog on a leash? They are biting you in your face,” one person wrote on Weibo. Tencent spokeswoman Jane Yip didn’t respond to a request for comment.With its investments in Epic and Blizzard, Tencent has its brand on the line -- but little control.“Never have we seen this policing of China companies being extended to subsidiaries,” said Norris. “And that’s what Tencent is having to grapple with.”Over the years, Tencent and Alibaba have worked hard to remain on the good side of Beijing, with Tencent recently launching a patriotic game called Homeland Dream in time for the People’s Republic of China’s 70th anniversary celebrations. Both have also been called out by name in Senator Marco Rubio’s letter to President Trump as examples of how Chinese companies are used as tools to help “coerce American companies and American citizens to bend to Beijing’s will.”With its growing exposure to international markets and regulation, Tencent finds itself in the middle of a maelstrom of political, economic and cultural grievances. Eight Chinese companies -- two of which are backed by Alibaba -- were this week placed on a U.S. blacklist for allegedly being involved in human rights abuses of a Muslim minority in China’s Xinjiang region. That follows the Washington government’s discussion about whether to restrict pension fund investments into China.Tencent and the rest of China’s technology companies now have to consider risks they’ve never faced before.“They’re realizing they may not have as many friends as they thought they had across the Pacific,” said Tanner of China Skinny.(Updates with shares from the 11th paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Lulu Yilun Chen in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Vlad Savov, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook defended the company’s decision to remove a mapping app in Hong Kong, saying on Thursday that the company received “credible information” from authorities indicating the software was being used “maliciously” to attack police.Apple pulled HKmap.live from its App Store on Wednesday after flip-flopping between rejecting it and approving it earlier this month. Apple made the decision after consulting with local authorities, because it could endanger law enforcement and city residents. Cook echoed that sentiment in an email to Apple employees.“Over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present,” Cook wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. He also said the app violates local laws.The company has been criticized for the move, and Cook addressed that. “These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate,” the CEO wrote. “National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users.”Apple joins other foreign companies struggling to navigate the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as protests that began in June show no sign of abating. The issue has become a red line for those doing business in China, most recently drawing the National Basketball Association into a firestorm over a tweet supporting the protesters that caused partners to stop doing business with the league and state television to halt airing games. A growing number of American giants, including Activision Blizzard Inc., find themselves embroiled in controversies over the extent to which their actions are influenced by economic considerations in a vast Chinese market.Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s largest market after the U.S. The iPhone maker is also one of the most visible symbols of corporate America in the world’s No. 2 economy. Apple recently pulled the Taiwan flag emoji from some iPhones, underscoring the difficult balance the company must strike in supporting free speech while appeasing China.Google, which pulled out of mainland China years ago, confirmed on Thursday that the HKmap.live app is still available in the Play app store in Hong Kong. However, the internet giant removed a mobile game from the store for "attempting to make money from serious ongoing conflicts or tragedies." The game let players pretend to be Hong Kong protesters.Charles Mok, a legislative counselor in Hong Kong, said he was “deeply disappointed” by Apple’s move and contested the company’s reasons in an open letter to Cook.“There are numerous cases of innocent passersby in the neighbourhood injured by the Hong Kong Police Force’s excessive force in crowd dispersal operations,” Mok wrote in the letter, which he posted on Twitter. “Information shared using HKmap.live in fact helps citizens avoid areas where pedestrians not involved in any criminal activities might be subjected to police brutality.”Apple’s reversal came after the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper criticized Apple for letting the app into its store. Protesters in the city used HKmap.live to monitor police whereabouts and it facilitated illegal activities, the People’s Daily said in a commentary late Tuesday. But the app’s developers rejected that view.“We disagree with Apple’s claim that our app endangered anyone” in Hong Kong, the developer said in a statement.Asked about Apple removing the app specifically, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated Beijing’s stance. “Recent events in Hong Kong are extreme, violent acts, challenging Hong Kong’s rule of law and order, threatening the safety of Hong Kong’s people, damaging Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” he said. “We should oppose such violence instead of supporting or condoning them.”Here’s the memo in full:Team,You have likely seen the news that we made the decision to remove an app from the App Store entitled HKmap.live. These decisions are never easy, and it is harder still to discuss these topics during moments of furious public debate. It’s out of my great respect for the work you do every day that I want to share the way we went about making this decision.It is no secret that technology can be used for good or for ill. This case is no different. The app in question allowed for the crowdsourced reporting and mapping of police checkpoints, protest hotspots, and other information. On its own, this information is benign. However, over the past several days we received credible information, from the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present. This use put the app in violation of Hong Kong law. Similarly, widespread abuse clearly violates our App Store guidelines barring personal harm.We built the App Store to be a safe and trusted place for every user. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, and it’s one that we aim to preserve. National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts. In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users.(Updates with Google decision on mobile game in seventh paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Gurman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at email@example.com, Alistair Barr, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. pulled the plug on an app that shows police activity in Hong Kong, reversing course yet again as violent pro-democracy protests wrack the city.The U.S. company said Thursday it decided to remove HKmap.live from its App Store after consulting with local authorities, because it could endanger law enforcement and city residents. That marks a return to its original position, where it initially rejected the app. After an outcry, the iPhone maker allowed it to run for a few days before Thursday’s decision. The see-sawing is unusual for Apple, which exercises rigid control over its app store, the foundation of its global iPhone ecosystem.Apple joins other foreign companies struggling to navigate the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong as protests that began in June show no sign of abating. The issue has become a red line for those doing business in China, most recently drawing the National Basketball Association into a firestorm over a tweet that’s caused partners to stop doing business with the league and state television to halt airing its games. A growing number of American giants, including Activision Blizzard Inc., find themselves embroiled in controversies over the extent to which their actions are influenced by economic considerations in a vast Chinese market.“Many concerned customers in Hong Kong have contacted us about this app and we immediately began investigating it,” Apple said in a statement. “The app displays police locations and we have verified with the Hong Kong Cybersecurity and Technology Crime Bureau that the app has been used to target and ambush police, threaten public safety, and criminals have used it to victimize residents in areas where they know there is no law enforcement. This app violates our guidelines and local laws, and we have removed it from the App Store.”Greater China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s largest market after the U.S. The iPhone maker is also one of the most visible symbols of corporate America in the world’s No. 2 economy. Apple recently pulled the Taiwan flag emoji from some iPhones, underscoring the difficult balance the company must strike in supporting free speech while appeasing China. Google, which pulled out of mainland China years ago, confirmed on Thursday that the HKmap.live app is still available in the Play app store in Hong Kong.Charles Mok, a legislative counselor in Hong Kong, said he was “deeply disappointed” by Apple’s move and contested the company’s reasons in an open letter to Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.“There are numerous cases of innocent passersby in the neighbourhood injured by the Hong Kong Police Force’s excessive force in crowd dispersal operations,” Mok wrote in the letter, which he posted on Twitter. “Information shared using HKmap.live in fact helps citizens avoid areas where pedestrians not involved in any criminal activities might be subjected to police brutality.”Read more: Moment of Truth on China Is Coming for Rest of Corporate AmericaApple’s reversal came after the Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper criticized Apple for letting the app into its store. Protesters in the city used HKmap.live to monitor police whereabouts and it facilitated illegal activities, the People’s Daily said in a commentary late Tuesday. But the app’s developers rejected that view.“We disagree with Apple’s claim that our app endangered anyone” in Hong Kong, the developer said in a statement.Asked about Apple removing the app specifically, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated Beijing’s stance. “Recent events in Hong Kong are extreme, violent acts, challenging Hong Kong’s rule of law and order, threatening the safety of Hong Kong’s people, damaging Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity,” he said. “We should oppose such violence instead of supporting or condoning them.”How Far Hong Kong’s Emergency Law Can Go (Online Too): QuickTake(Updates with Mok letter to Apple CEO in sixth paragraph.)\--With assistance from April Ma and Sharon Chen.To contact the reporters on this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org;Mark Gurman in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The protests in Hong Kong have begun having an effect on American businesses and the stock market. Pressure from the Chinese government on companies that desperately want to build a presence in that country has resulted in pressure om several high-profile stocks.Source: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock.comThe latest victim is Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ:ATVI). When a professional gamer made a pro-Hong Kong statement in an interview, ATVI removed him from the tournament he was competing in, took away his tournament earnings to that point, and suspended him for a year. After the move made headlines and the company was criticized on social media for bowing to Chinese pressure, the negative PR helped drive Activision Blizzard stock to a 2.31% loss on Tuesday.InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips Activision Blizzard Suspends Hearthstone Player for a Pro-Hong Kong CommentHearthstone is a very popular online game. As of the end of 2018, 100 million people worldwide had played the game. It's not just casual players who are into the game, ATVI promotes it as an eSports title and it generates high profits. At a Hearthstone world championship tournament in Taiwan earlier this year, the prizes were worth $1 million. * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns Over the weekend, at the Hearthstone Asia-Pacific Grandmasters tournament, ATVI ran into trouble. In a streamed post-match interview, a player, who called himself Blitzchung, put on a gas mask and said "Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!"In a move that ultimately ended up hurting Activision Blizzard stock, the company removed the gamer from the tournament, took away his prize earnings, suspended him for a year and severed ties with the individuals who had interviewed him. Activision Blizzard Stock Feels the ImpactAlthough the drama went down on Sunday, it was on Tuesday that ATVI really began to feel the heat. Protests against the move started on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), became headlines and then started attracting the attention of politicians. And the politicians weren't very happy with ATVI. For example, Senator Ron Wyden tweeted:"Blizzard shows it is willing to humiliate itself to please the Chinese Communist Party. No American company should censor calls for freedom to make a quick buck."The Verge reported that some employees of Activision Blizzard were also lashing out at the company. Given the storm of negative press, it's not surprising that f Activision Blizzard stock took a hit. The China Effect The impact of the Hearthstone tournament news on Activision Blizzard stock is just the latest example of the effect of the tensions between the U.S. and China. The trade war between the two countries has had a big impact on the stock market, with tariffs and concerns about an economic slowdown hitting many companies. The protests in Hong Kong have only added fuel to the fire.The NBA is currently embroiled in a mess of its own because of a pro-Hong Kong statement that resulted in Houston Rockets merchandise being yanked from stores in China.The Hearthstone tournament situation hasn't been great news for ATVI. It's taken the shine off of ATVI stock after the successful launch last week of Call of Duty: Mobile -- which was downloaded 35 million times in its first four days. Investors can take solace in the fact that the damage inflicted on Activision Blizzard stock is expected to be short-lived as Twitter and the headlines move on to the next crisis.As of this writing, the author did not own shares of any of the aforementioned companies. More From InvestorPlace * 2 Toxic Pot Stocks You Should Avoid * 10 Super Boring Stocks to Buy With Super Safe Returns * 10 Winning Stocks to Buy and Stick With for the Long Haul * Don't Give Up on These 4 Cannabis Stocks The post Activision Blizzard Stock Takes a Self-Inflicted Dip appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Snap-on's (SNA) robust business model and focus on value-creation processes are likely to drive third-quarter 2019 earnings. However, it has a soft sales trend.
Yahoo Finance Premium members have access to the full 30-stock Argus Focus List. Activision creates video games. The company’s top game franchises include “Call of Duty,” “Diablo,” and “World of Warcraft.” Activision acquired King Digital Entertainment, the producer of the “Candy Crush” mobile puzzle game, in February 2016.
Investing.com - U.S. futures were flat on Thursday as investors remained cautious from mixed signals ahead of trade talks between the U.S. and China.
The backlash over the banning of an eSports player who voiced support for Hong Kong protesters has led to widespread boycott calls against Activision's Blizzard unit, which has considerable Chinese exposure.
Online gaming's avatars and virtual worlds have provided relative anonymity to Chinese users looking to show sympathy with Hong Kong's protesters but fearing repercussions. Repercussions came swiftly from the game's US publisher Activision Blizzard, which banned him for a year from esports and removed his Grandmaster status. by the inappropriate comment” in a tweet last Friday by the general manager of the Houston Rockets, which said: “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong”.
The market has been volatile in the last few months as the Federal Reserve continued its rate cuts and uncertainty looms over trade negotiations with China. Small cap stocks have been hit hard as a result, as the Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) has underperformed the larger S&P 500 ETF (SPY) by more than 10 percentage […]
Gamers are calling for a boycott against Activision Blizzard after the company banned and stripped prize money away from a top player of its online game "Hearth-Stone," for saying a pro-Hong Kong message on a livestream.
(Bloomberg) -- Activision Blizzard Inc. is facing a fierce backlash and calls for a boycott after a unit of the American video-game company punished a player for supporting Hong Kong’s protest movement, the latest cultural clash between the U.S. and China.Blizzard Entertainment banned Ng Wai Chung, known as Blitzchung, from its Grandmasters esports competition for a year and withheld prize money he had already won after he used a slogan from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. Players and fans around the world immediately responded with outrage over what they view as heavy-handed punishment and kowtowing to Chinese censorship. The topic erupted online, with blizzardboycott trending on Twitter.“I will never play Blizzard’s game from now on, unless they apologize to blitzchung and to HK people. Blizzard sucks,” one person wrote on a forum discussion thread called ‘Solidarity with Blitzchung, Censored by Blizzard.’Hong Kong’s protests have sparked escalating clashes between Beijing and the rest of the world. The National Basketball Association was engulfed in controversy after the general manager of the Houston Rockets expressed support for the protesters, leading China’s broadcasters to pull NBA games and local companies to drop Rockets products. Apple Inc. was blasted by the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper for carrying an app and song embraced by the movement.China’s Online Army Shows Foreign Brands Who’s in ChargeThe Blizzard incident began when Ng -- dressed in a gas mask and goggles in defiance of authorities’ ban on face masks -- used the phrase “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our age!” during a post-match interview. Blizzard, developer of games like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone, said in a statement it instituted the ban to “prevent similar incidents” in the future. On the China microblogging site Weibo, Blizzard’s statement in Chinese was: “We will, as always, resolutely safeguard the country’s dignity.”The blowback was immediate. In South Korea, Blizzard became a top trending subject on Twitter with people saying the company “prioritizes money over human rights” and that it is “crazy” and “‘disappointing.” In the U.S., an influential former Blizzard employee, Mark Kern, rebuked the company.“You screwed up and traded your players in for dollars,” he tweeted. “There is keeping politics out of games, then there is grand standing to appease the Chinese Communist Party.”Gaming websites reported on protests by Blizzard staff. Rock Paper Shotgun said Wednesday employees at the headquarters in Orange County, California, covered core values cast in bronze in a sculpture outside the offices that read “Think Globally” and “Every Voice Matters.” They also held umbrellas, a symbol of the movement.The website Kotaku was critical, with a headline that read: “Blizzard’s Company Values Don’t Mean Much Today.”Contacted for comment, Activision Blizzard reiterated in a statement plans to enforce its established rules of conduct: “While we stand by one’s right to express individual thoughts and opinions, players and other participants that elect to participate in our esports competitions must abide by the official competition rules.”Activision Blizzard joins a number of international companies embroiled in controversy around free speech linked to China. Luxury brands like Versace, Coach and Givenchy have all fallen foul of Beijing’s demands to refer to both Hong Kong and Taiwan as parts of its territory and not suggest they are independent nations. During the summer, China also requested more than 40 foreign airlines stop referring to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.“As you know, there are serious protests in my country now,” Ng said in a statement to gaming blog Inven Global. “My call on stream was just another form of participation of the protest that I wish to grab more attention.”Activision Blizzard has tie-ups with Chinese gaming houses Tencent Holdings Ltd. and NetEase Inc. to distribute -- and in some cases co-develop -- new entries in beloved franchises like Call of Duty and Diablo in the world’s biggest video game market and beyond.One player explained how much they enjoyed playing Blizzard’s World of Warcraft, but would be stepping back from it and joining the boycott.“I hit level 45 tonight so when I read the news I was extremely sad,” the person wrote. “I can put up with a lot, but if it’s someone’s freedom or my money, I will gladly give up my favorite game so that others can have the same freedoms I enjoy.”(Updates with gaming website protests in eighth paragraph)\--With assistance from Lulu Yilun Chen and Jihye Lee.To contact the reporters on this story: Zheping Huang in Hong Kong at email@example.com;Gregor Stuart Hunter in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Peter Elstrom, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Apple has been accused of aiding Hong Kong protesters via an app that allegedly enables tracking of local law enforcement — representing the latest company ensnared in political tensions between the semiautonomous territory and China.
Chinese multinational conglomerate Tencent owns about 5 percent of parent company Activision Blizzard and plays a key role in its presence in the important gaming market of China.
Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI)'s Blizzard Entertainment banned a professional esports gamer and withheld his prize money after he expressed solidarity with anti-government protesters in Hong Kong during a Taiwanese live stream of a Hearthstone tournament. The esports player, Chung Ng Wai, who plays under the name “Blitzchung,” was wearing a mask, like those being worn by some Hong Kong protesters, in an interview after winning his match in the Asia-Pacific Grandmasters Tournament on Sunday.
Concerns about Chinese censorship of U.S. companies has escalated once again, and entertainment exports are on the front lines.