China's 2021 video gaming revenue growth slows amid tightening rules
By Huo Li
View of an internet cafe in Beijing, China, September 10, 2021. /CFP

View of an internet cafe in Beijing, China, September 10, 2021. /CFP

Industry data showed that China's video gaming sector raked in 296.5 billion yuan ($46.5 billion) in actual sales revenue in 2021, a slight 6.4 percent yearly increase on the backdrop of tightening regulations, the boost from stay-at-home economy winds down and lack of hit games. 

The 2021 China gaming industry report released on Thursday showed that China's gaming community expanded by 0.22 percent during the year, with a total size of 666 million users. The report called the user number of the sector "gradually nearing saturation."  

The world's largest video gaming market recorded 20.7 percent annual actual sales revenue growth in 2020 as social distancing measures grounds people at home. 

China has halted publishing the list of approved new games for five months. The National Press and Publication Administration would usually announce new licensed games each month. 

The country has strengthened regulations on younger players since an August editorial condemned video games as "spiritual opium." Later that month, regulators limited users under 18 to play video games only from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays, weekends and official holidays.  

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Tencent, China's top video game company, said in its third-quarter financial report that minors accounted for 0.7 percent of game time in the Chinese market, significantly falling from 6.4 percent in September 2020. Minors' spending in the China market accounted for 1.1 percent, dropped 3.7 percent from September 2020, it added. 

Thursday's report also showed that, in overseas markets, China-developed games generated $18 billion in actual sales revenue this year, rising 16.6 percent year-on-year. The U.S., Japan and South Korea remain the major market for Chinese games, the report added.

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