China crackdown exposes Tencent's gaming addiction

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China's largest social media and gaming firm said April-June profit fell to 17.87 billion yuan (2 billion pounds), compared with the 19.67 billion yuan average of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters. Disappointing second-quarter figures have ramped up fears of a slowdown at the web giant, which has seen its market value shrink by $170 billion to around $400 billion this year.

Actual sales revenue in the Chinese game market was CNY105 billion, an annual rise of 5 percent, shows a report on China's first-half gaming sector that the Work Committee for Game Publishing under the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association released. With over 600 million gamers, China is the world's. Revenue from online games topped 25 billion yuan, up 6 percent year on year.

Tencent surprised investors with its first profit drop in at least a decade - a effect of a freeze on game approvals in China that smothered its pipeline. The Shenzhen-based company relies on new content to draw and keep users on its WeChat messaging service, over which it sells in-game items and advertising to a billion-plus users. Although gaming revenue made up 40 percent of the revenue, it is also the business line that is causing the financial woes.

The game publisher has abruptly pulled a popular Japanese-developed title from its platform just days after its release, as the industry struggles under a almost half-year freeze on approval of all new games. Monthly active users of the latter fell to 222 million in June, from 245 million in February, according to Jefferies.

He said the block follows concern over Tencent's ability to monetize "PlayerUnknown Battleground" (PUBG). "The miss, however, was driven purely by regulatory delays to game approvals, meaning the long-term story for Tencent may well remain intact".

Since the ban, the biggest game of the year, Fortnite has vanished from the web.

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- Adjusted earnings, excluding share-based compensation and one-off gains, increased 20% to 19.7 billion yuan. Tencent shares fell 3.6 percent in Hong Kong trading before its New York-traded ADRs plunged as much as 10 percent.

"A lot of games have not been approved", said Lau, adding that the government was aware "the restructuring is now affecting the industry as a whole".

Tencent also said players who purchased "Monster Hunter: World" were entitled to a full refund until August 20.

Chinese gaming company Tencent was ordered to remove the blockbuster title from its PC gaming platform WeGame on Monday following "a large number of complaints" without further elaboration.

Shares of South Africa's Naspers, which owns a 31 percent stake in Tencent, slid 8 percent after the results were announced on Wednesday.