The share price of Tencent Holdings, one of China’s tech behemoths, tumbled after a state-run newspaper described online gaming as “spiritual opium” and called for curbs to be imposed on the industry .
The piece, published in the investigation section of the Economic Information Daily, described video gaming as a “spiritual opium” that is harming the country’s teenagers and singled out Tencent Holdings as a source of the problem. It specifically cited Tencent's online game "Honor of Kings" and said that students played for up to eight hours a day.
Economic Information Daily is a media outlet affiliated to China's biggest state run news agency Xinhua.
Even though the story was deleted by the daily, the investors were spooked that gaming could become the next target of crackdown for Chinese Communist Party . CCP has already defanged China’s big tech firms and online tutoring sector.
Tencent, which is China's largest social media and video game firm, saw its stock tumble more than 10% in early trade, wiping almost $60 billion from its market capitalisation.
Tencent in a statement said it will introduce measures to reduce minors' access to and time spent on games. It also called for an industry ban on gaming for children under 12 years old.
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