China summons gaming firms, says it will also crack down on ride-hailing sector

Chinese government regulators launched a cyber-security probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global in July.
Chinese government regulators launched a cyber-security probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global in July.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - China's government on Wednesday (Sept 8) summoned gaming firms, including Tencent and NetEase, to ensure that they implement new rules for the sector.

It also said it would crack down on illegal behaviour in the ride-hailing industry.

Beijing last month moved to ban under-18s from playing video games for more than three hours a week in a tighter set of regulations for gaming as it looks to strengthen control over sectors of its economy such as tech, education and property.

Gaming firms were told by the government on Wednesday to implement measures such as curbing minors' hours of access to their video games to protect their physical and mental health, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Those that are found to have "inadequately" implemented the regulations will be severely punished, it said, adding that the firms present were also asked to resist engaging in improper competition and should instead focus on driving innovation.

Xinhua named the authorities involved as the ruling Communist Party's Publicity Department, the National Press and Publication Administration, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Separately on Wednesday, the Transport Ministry said it would intensify a crackdown on illegal behaviour in the ride-hailing industry and deal with online platforms that are still using non-compliant vehicles and drivers.

The statement comes after Chinese government regulators launched a cyber-security probe into ride-hailing giant Didi Global in July.

Meanwhile, the Cyberspace Administration of China said it has shut down and banned 1,793 so-called self-media accounts on online platforms since Aug 27, when it announced a probe into the illegal release of financial information and bad-mouthing of financial markets.

The term "self-media" is mostly used to describe independently operated accounts that produce original content but are not officially registered with the authorities.

The accounts closed include three with more than a million followers, while more than 47,000 pieces of "harmful information" have been cleaned up, the administration added.