China approves 70 games in November, including Tencent's 'Metal Slug'

People wearing protective face masks play computer games at the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, China July 31, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

HONG KONG, Nov 17 (Reuters) - China's video games regulator on Thursday granted publishing licences to 70 online games, including titles belonging to Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), NetEase Inc (9999.HK) and other developers.

Shenzhen-based Tencent, the world's largest gaming company, received its first commercial game licence in a year and a half for an action game titled "Metal Slug: Awakening", the list published by the National Press and Public Administration showed.

Unlike in most other countries, video games need approvals from regulators before release in China, the world's largest gaming market. When Beijing cracked down on the gaming industry last August, it initiated a nine-month freeze on the licence approval process.

NetEase, China's second largest gaming company behind Tencent, also received a licence this month for a role-playing game titled "Journey to the West: Return", its second licence since the freeze was lifted in April after securing one in September.

Other game licences approved include ones belonging to CMGE Technology Group (0302.HK), XD Inc (2400.HK), Giant Network Group (002558.SZ) and Perfect World Co (002624.SZ).

A Tencent subsidiary also received a licence in September but it was for an educational game with no monetisation.

No licences were granted in October, when the 20th Party Congress was underway in Beijing.

In a call with analysts on Wednesday, Tencent president Martin Lau said he expected licences for Tencent to come through quickly.

Reporting by Twinnie Siu; Editing by Toby Chopra, Kirsten Donovan and Bernadette Baum

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