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Tencent posts a surprise profit drop as regulators hobble games

Tencent posts a surprise profit drop as regulators hobble games

Analysts had expected "Monster Hunter: World", developed by Japan's Capcom Co Ltd, to be one of 2018's biggest launches for Tencent, which licensed the game to sell to personal computer users on its WeGame platform. Tencent and Netease Inc, two of the industry's largest Chinese publishers, handle games from all over the world, resulting in Japanese publishers Capcom and Konami both seeing shares fall as much as 2.7 percent and 4.7 percent respectively as the drought continues, while USA companies Activision Blizzard and EA are also expected to be affected. Tencent is China's largest games distributor, and by revenue is also the biggest in the world. The company cited "numerous complaints" regulators had received. "For new game approvals, there will continue to be a drag", she said. Meanwhile, mobile hits like "QQ Speed" and "Honour of Kings" are losing momentum.

Some media reports say the bottleneck means that digital giant Tencent does not yet have permission for desktop versions of "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" and "Fortnite", two of the world's hottest games at the moment.

The company is diversifying by building up advertising, video and music streaming. All of this has combined to undercut Tencent's earnings, recently dropping $150 billion in market value.

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Tencent has survived from previous run-ins with Beijing, and its WeChat messaging app remains a vital service for Chinese phone users.

- Chinese social media and gaming company Tencent on August 15 reported revenue of 73.7 billion yuan ($10.7 billion) in the three months to June, an increase of 30% from the same period past year.

Still, concerns remain about the prospects of the company's video games business.

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Apart from the uncertain gaming revenue outlook, Tencent also needs to prepare for falling interest income from its payment business in the next six months due to a new central bank policy that will raise the non interest-earning deposit ratio for China's payment service providers to 100 percent by January 2019, eroding their interest income.

Shenzhen-based Tencent, along with other companies in China's gaming industry, have been forced to wait patiently on the sidelines amid a regulatory restructuring that has led to a months-long halt on government approval of new games. The freeze follows a reorganisation of the government bodies that oversee gaming and other media sectors earlier in the year.

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Tencent's shares were down 3.44% on Wednesday, following a more than 3% fall on Tuesday. The company's German-traded shares plunged as much as 10 per cent.