China regulator removes online video game rules as consultation period expires

Terming the removal “unusual”, analysts say this move hints towards a revision
A representational image. — Canva
A representational image. — Canva

China’s National Press and Publication Administration’s (NPPA) website on Tuesday removed its rules — which were proposed last month.

Reuters confirmed that the rules proposed to curb spending and rewards that encourage playing video games have been removed from the website — which also became inaccessible today.

The regulator would now finalise the rules as the consultation period expired on Monday (January 22).

Terming the removal “unusual”, analysts said that this move hints towards a revision; however, the NPPA hasn’t commented on this officially.

Haitong Securities analyst Xiaoyue Hu, in a note to clients, said that the removal of the announcement could signal "there might be further changes in the new measures."

The analyst stated previous regulatory measures seeking opinions had a track record of staying on the government's websites even after the consultation period ended.

It should be noted that the draft rules had sparked panic among investors, wiping off nearly $80 billion in market value from China's two biggest gaming companies when they were announced.

Analysts also at the time said the plans brought the risk of potential regulatory change back to the fore in the minds of investors, hurting confidence at a time when the government has been trying to boost private-sector investment to spur a slowing economy.