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November 29, 2021

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Government suspends Tencent from updating or launching apps in China

Temporary measure applies to over 100 games, but publisher assures that titles remain functional and available for download

The Chinese government has blocked Tencent from updating any of its existing apps and mobile games or launching new ones.

The South China Morning Post reports the measure is part of a “temporary administrative guidance” and that the nation’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has ordered app stores and other platforms to prevent Tencent from releasing updates or new apps as of yesterday.

In a statement, Tencent said it has “regular cooperation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance,” adding that all apps “remain functional and available for download.”

Tencent currently publishes more than 100 mobile games in China as well as over 70 broader apps.

Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad emphasised that this measure only applies to mainland China and stems from a regulator’s discovery that some apps were violating rules on user rights and data protection.

This is part of a campaign the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has been running since last year in an effort to ensure apps follow data privacy and cybersecurity laws when it comes to collecting data from users.

The news follows a series of restrictions implemented by the Chinese government against the video games space, most notably with the limit of three hours per week of gaming time for players under 18.

The government has also introduced monthly spending caps for young players, further tightened the restrictions on game content, banned children under 16 from livestreamng their games sessions, and is trialling a website where people can report companies that do not comply with the new rules.

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