Update, November 24, 15:42: A senior analyst at Niko Partners, Daniel Ahmad, has added some context to the ban. A regulator found that Tencent apps were violating user rights and data protection, but people can still download existing Tencent apps. Future updates and new apps are being investigated.

Original story below:

Tech giant Tencent has been suspended from launching new apps or updating any of its existing ones as the Chinese government's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology cracks down on the $500 billion company.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, "temporary administrative guidance" has been issued, and the government branch has told app stores and platforms to implement the order against Tencent effective immediately.

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Tencent has confirmed it is cooperating with the suspension. It is currently unknown how long this ban will be in effect for and the Chinese ministry has not commented on it.

Honor of Kings

This is a blow to the 1.2 billion people that use Tencent's Weixin app (the China-only version of WeChat) and over 100 million people who play Honor Of Kings daily. This ban will only affect games and apps in China, so Tencent's successful MOBAs, Pokemon Unite and League of Legends, will be unaffected outside of the country - Unite is currently unavailable in China, as the government hasn't approved a new game for over three months.

This ban is a huge blow to players in China, who are already dealing with strict government interference in gaming. Minors in China can only play video games for three hours per week - an hour a day from Friday to Sunday. The government is trying to curb gaming addiction among youngsters, which is part of the reason it suspended approval of new online games.

Apparently, the current suspension on Tencent apps comes amid the government's growing legislation to regulate data in the country. According to the SCMP, China recently enacted the Personal Information Protection Law. This is one of the toughest regulations in the world regarding personal data security and will change how companies operate within China in a big way.

Tencent recently bought a 90 percent stake in Japanese developer Wake Up Interactive. It appears as though the company is expanding its overseas investments as it looks to free itself from the Chinese government's strict policies. Despite being worth over $500 billion, Tencent has actually lost 20 percent of its value since the end of 2020 amid increasingly tough government regulations.

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