Tencent Banned from Updating or Launching Apps by Chinese Gov in “Temporary Administrative Guidance”

Tencent suspended apps China

The Chinese government has ordered Tencent to suspend updating or launching apps under “temporary administrative guidance.”


The South Morning China Post reports the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology told app stores and platforms to implement the order against Tencent. There is currently no information how long this suspension will last. The reason was reported by Chinese media outlets as “temporary administrative guidance.” 

Tencent reportedly issued a statement confirming they were cooperating with authorities inspecting its apps. Over 70 apps are published by Tencent, and over 100 games published by Tencent Mobile Games to boot. These include WeChat, Weixin, Tencent News, QQ Music, and more.

“We are continuously working to enhance user protection features within our apps,” Tencent mentioned in their statement, “and also have regular cooperation with relevant government agencies to ensure regulatory compliance. Our apps remain functional and available for download.”

The South Morning China Post notes that several Tencent apps have been affected in the past by ever-stricter laws on user data and cyber security. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have regularly openly declared apps that it claims violated those regulations, or infringed on user rights; such as collecting too much user data, or needing approval to send user data outside of China.


In August of this year, Tencent lost almost $60 billion USD in stock value; after Chinese state media’s Economic Information Daily described online games as spiritual opium.” They had previously lost $20 billion USD in 2018, thanks to the Chinese Ministry of Education recommended less video game approvals.

The Chinese government announced in late August that it banned children from playing online video games online video games Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, weekends, and public holidays they can only play for one hour; between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. As of November 2019, under 18s were previously limited to 90 minutes per-day, with three hours at weekends and holidays.

The law was designed to curb video game addiction (also known as gaming disorder), along with preventing online games from distracting them from school, family responsibilities, and causing other societal ills. The Chinese Government also banned under 16s from live-streaming, along with other gaming and internet restrictions as part of their 10-year plan on children’s development.


New regulations from the Chinese government on a game’s content also included a ban on many themes and depictions. These include banning effeminate men, panty shots, declaring Japanese and anime games “dangerous,” positive depictions of non-Chinese armies, loot boxes, “anti-society” and “anti-human” themes, and more.

Some have proposed Tencent’s aggressive investing into the west (along with other Chinese companies) may be motivated by a source of more stable income than from their homeland. Nonetheless, concerns of national security are also considered.

This may also be while Fortnite test servers shut down in China; Tencent subsidiary Timi Studio are making global titles. These include Honor of Kings: World, Pokemon Unite, and Metal Slug Code: J Contract disputes with Tencent lead to Amazon Games cancelling their The Lord of the Rings MMO.


Tencent set up US studio LightSpeed LA to make PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S AAA games. They had previously sought industry veterans for a blockbuster titles, including Konami developer Kenichiro Imaizumi, and Scott Warner (Planescape: TormentMercenaries 2: World in FlamesHalo 4).

Tencent’s portfolio includes ownership of Riot Games, the parent company of both Soleil and Valhalla Game Studios, 80% of Grinding Gear Games, 40% in Epic Games, 29% in Funcom, 5% in Activision Blizzard, 5% in Ubisoft, 5% in Paradox Interactive, a “major investment” in PlatinumGames, a majority stake in Klei Entertainment, a major shareholder for Marvelous, minority stakes in Dontnod Entertainment, Playtonic Games, and will soon acquire 1C Entertainment.

A German outlet reported from their sources that Tencent sought to acquire Crytek; which may also give them access to the western military simulators the developer makes. A US national security committee are deciding if Tencent can acquire Sumo Digital parent company Sumo Group.

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Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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