Chinese web giant Tencent’s shares were beaten again on Monday, after state media renewed its criticism of the gaming industry and called for tighter surveillance as China’s relentless crackdown on its tech industry shows no signs of stopping.
The Shenzhen-based company plunged more than 4% in Hong Kong, bringing this year’s loss to 42% since the February peak. Investors ditched Tencent and other Hong Kong-listed game companies such as Hangzhou-based NetEase after China’s state-run National Radio singled out the industry Friday night for twisting the story . Tencent shares closed 3.5% lower after recouping some losses.
“The gaming industry should increase self-discipline, and respect for national history should be the bottom line for employees in the industry,” read the editorial, which also calls for a process of tighter endorsement and promises “zero tolerance” for online games that have “strayed from the path.
The article does not mention Tencent or any other game company by name. Rather, he gives examples of Yue Fei, a Chinese national hero and famous general of the Song Dynasty who was portrayed as going in an unnamed mobile game. Qin Hui, a chancellor who betrayed Yue, was designed as a high-level game character.
A spokesperson for Tencent said the company had no comment on the matter. It has been the subject of repeated regulatory scrutiny this year, including fines for violating the country’s antitrust rules and being ordered to waive exclusive music rights. Earlier this month, the company’s online gaming business came under pressure from an affiliate of the state-run Xinhua News Agency, which compared the entire industry to “the spiritual opium ”and“ electronic drugs ”, and lambasted her for ruining an entire generation.
Such harsh wording has since been removed, but a revised article criticizing online gaming is still online. Tencent, meanwhile, was sued in June for “inappropriate content” in its flagship product. Honor of kings mobile game. In a lawsuit filed in the city, the Beijing Teenagers Law Aid And Research Center, a public interest group, alleges that the game’s storyline altered historical figures and distorted traditional Chinese culture. Tencent spokesman said the company also had no comment on the lawsuit.