Just days after President Hu Jintao promised to protect the interests of foreign media in China, authorities have banned foreign investment in the online games market.
The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) said in a notice on its website that “foreign investment in any form” in China’s network games companies was strictly forbidden.
Foreign firms were banned as sole owner or in a JV, or participating through a third party investment company or by supplying technical support, providing user registration or under a contract.
Games operators that have already received an import permit must re-apply before launching new editions, GAPP said. It is planning a new system for registration of imported games, Xinhua said.
GAPP has also launched a campaign against unlicensed games and games providers.
In a swoop ahead of the October 1 National Day, GAPP shut down 45 games, including the local version of MMPORG role-playing game Omerta, which it said encouraged drug trafficking and prostitution.
Last week the Chinese government hosted a conference of global media executives, attended by the heads of worldwide media organizations, including News chief Rupert Murdoch and the heads of AP, Reuters and Kyodo.
Murdoch warned in a speech that China would miss the “digital opportunity” if it did not open its media markets to foreign players.