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Tim Culpan

Online Licensing Is a Game China Can't Lose

The regulator can be very efficient, and also quite effective at ensuring content moves in the right direction.

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

After a nine-month lunch break, China’s National Press and Publication Administration has reopened the window and started issuing game licenses again. Investors may be rejoicing, but rest assured that Beijing has a smile on its face, too.

Let’s be clear: The NPPA isn’t some sloth-like bureaucracy that plods forward at DMV speed. In normal times, the Chinese regulator issues domestic games approvals on a monthly basis. This week, it signed off on 45 titles, the first time it released a new list since July. In the 32 months between the previous freeze in 2018 and the most-recent one, it was giving consent to an average 109 games monthly.