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Tencent reacts to online gaming criticism but London funds wobble

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The Chinese games giant made the move in reaction to an article on state-run media that condemned online gaming as “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs”

London funds focused on China and Asia had mixed reactions (), a major holding for many investment trusts, announced new restrictions on how long children can play its online games.

The Chinese games giant made the move in reaction to an article on state-run media that condemned online gaming as “spiritual opium” and “electronic drugs”.

Tencent quickly put out a social media post revealing it was launching the new measures following requests from “relevant authorities” for increased protection of minors in gaming, with the implication that companies needed to better carry out their “societal responsibility”.

Shares in the company had slid over 10% in early trading before ending the day 6.1% lower than where they started and down 19% over the past month and 40% since hitting an all-time high early this year.

The Shenzhen-headquartered media conglomerate, which also operates services including social networks, music, web portals, e-commerce, payment systems and instant messaging, generated around US$6bn from gaming in the first quarter of this year, representing almost a third of turnover.

Gaming sector rivals () and XD Inc also closed the session down about 8%.

The earlier article, on The Economic Information Daily, run by the state-owned Xinhua News Agency, was later deleted but a print version remained, it was reported.

Pointing to students who played popular Tencent games for eight hours a day, the post likened the effect of online games to the opium additions that brought down imperial China.

In London, many investment trusts, led by  (), have big stakes in Tencent and were sent lower last week as the Chinese company was hit by new regulations.

Shares in SMT, which has almost 6% of its portfolio weighting in Tencent, were down 1% on Tuesday afternoon, while other 7% holders () and () were both down over 1.5%.

Other holders such as Asia Dragon Trust PLC and JPMorgan China Growth & Income PLC were in the green, while (, ) was just below flat. 



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