China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has barred Holdings Company Tencent from updating or launching games within the country, according to recent reports. South China’s Morning Post stated that app store and platform operators were informed of the ban, which was described as a “temporary administrative guidance.”
It is unclear at this time why specifically Tencent, one of the biggest publishers in the country, is being targeted by this ban. The company is arguably most well known in China for publishing the title Honor of Kings, which is as high profile in china as an app could be.
According to the report, on the other hand, Chinese regulators have taken issue with several of the company’s apps for claims of violating regulations and infringing on users’ rights. Whether these concerns have led to the banning remains to be seen.
Tencent has released a statement explaining that they are indeed cooperating with the Chinese authorities, as well as inspecting their apps, while also reassuring players that their apps remain functional and available for purchase, they simply lack the ability to add additional content. The company stated:
We are continuously working to enhance user protection features within our apps, and also have regular cooperation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance.
Tencent and several other Chinese companies have attempted to expand outside of the Chinese market over the recent year. Tencent has taken to opening several studios in North America with the goal of publishing AAA games in the country. Similarly, rival company NetEase has made strides to push into the Japanese market, purchasing Grasshopper Manufacture, best known for developing the No More Heroes franchise. These moves have been made amid several crackdowns the Chinese government has made on video games, including limiting how long they can be played a week.