January 17th, 2008 by Kenan Farrell
Chinese government agencies regulating the online game industry have released new regulations regarding foreign online game companies operating in China, reports Pacific Epoch. Under the new regulation, the General Administration of Press and Publication (“GAPP,” China’s primary agency for censorship of published works) will postpone the examination, approval and licensing of foreign company products if the companies are sued or targeted for arbitration actions by Chinese online game companies. The GAPP will not continue consideration of the products until after the complaints have been resolved. Whereas all publishers in China are required to be licensed by the GAPP, the agency basically has the power to deny the right to publish, and completely shut down any publisher who fails to follow its dictates.
China isn’t the only country guilty of this sort of thing, but this is another clear act of local protectionism. The Chinese government has repeatedly sought to protect its game industry by keeping out South Korean and U.S. companies. South Korea’s top online game maker, NCsoft Corp., publisher of City of Heroes, Lineage and Guild Wars, would certainly love increased access to China’s ballooning gaming market. According to a recent report, China’s online gaming population rose 23 percent to 40.17 million in 2007, and is expected to more than double to 84.56 million by 2012, with estimated sales of 26.23 billion yuan (USD $3.63 Billion). Surely, China’s gaming population is large enough to accomodate some outside competition. Meanwhile, 28 Chinese online games are expected to expand overseas this year. It will be interesting to see if they receive a warmer reception than foreign games moving into China.
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