Chinese gaming giant Tencent saw a dramatic 10% drop in shares on Tuesday after state-owned Economic Information Daily likened their products to “electronic drugs.”
Stock in Tencent’s rival Netease also plummeted by 15.7% on the day.
The article by state media said that many young teenagers had become addicted to games such as the immensely popular Honor of Kings, likening it to “spiritual opium.”
Economic Information Daily regularly referenced Honor of Kings in the article.
The newspaper also added this strong remark: “No industry, no sport, can be allowed to develop in a way that will destroy a generation.”
On Weibo, popular tech blogger Keji Guaijie created a poll asking netizens whether Honor of Kings should be referred to as “spiritual opium.” With more than 7,700 respondents, 49% agreed with the nickname and 28% thought it was a bit far. The remaining respondents took a neutral position.
Tencent has been closely monitored as of late – last week the company was forced to end exclusive music licensing deals with record labels around the world.
Since China’s most recent census highlighted a significant decline in the country’s birth rate, Beijing has proposed restricting the technology and education industry to ease the financial burden of raising children.
Sweeping changes and restrictions to the private tutoring education sector are expected to come after the government announced it would be banning for-profit tutoring of school subjects.
[Cover image via @新商业联播/Weibo]