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

The moves mark the latest easing of rigid curbs that have plagued China’s gaming industry since last August.

China’s video game regulator has granted publishing licenses to 45 foreign games for release in the country, including seven South Korean games. Rigid curb has hammered industry for nearly 18 months.

South Korean game stocks, which include Netmarble Corp, NCSOFT, Krafton, Kakao Games and Devsisters, were up 2-17% in Thursday morning trading, a day after Chinese authorities granted the publishing license.

Among the imported online games approved by the National Press and Publication Administration, five are published by Tencent Holdings, such as Nintendo’s “Pokémon Unite” and Riot Games’ “Valorant” , according to the list published by the regulatory agency.

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

Regulators resumed game licensing for domestic games in April, and the approval of foreign games is seen as a final regulatory restriction that should be lifted.

Unlike in most other countries, video games require regulatory approval before being released in China, the world’s largest game market.

Beijing’s crackdown on the industry has dealt a blow to Chinese tech companies, including Tencent and NetEase Inc, which derive significant revenue from publishing their own games. development and import.

Through various affiliated companies, Tencent, the world’s largest game company, received a total of six licenses in December, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters news agency.

Tencent received its first commercial game license in over a year and a half just last month, which is seen as an important signal towards policy normalization for the industry. Other approved import games include CD Projekt’s CDR.WA “Gwent: The Witcher Card Game” and Klei Entertainment’s “Don’t Starve”.

In addition to Tencent, NetEase, ByteDance, XD Inc and iDreamSky also received the game’s approval in December.

Shares of Tencent, XD Inc, iDreamSky rose 0.8% to 5.2% in Hong Kong, while shares of Japan’s Nintendo rose 0.2%.

The number of permits issued is less than in previous years. China approved 76 imported games in 2021 and 456 in 2017.

During a year-end meeting this month, Tencent founder Pony Ma said the company must get used to Beijing’s strict licensing regime and that the number of new games China approves will be limited. for a long time.

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