China blocks mobile poker apps as online crackdown widens – SCMP

What happened: A number of Texas Hold’Em mobile gaming platform have been blocked in China. Two of the biggest include Poker King and Poker Tribe, which amassed more than RMB 50 million in bets a day. Users were required to add at least RMB 1,000 to their accounts after they registered, as well as provide their bank card or payment service information.

Why it’s important: The move is part of a greater crackdown on online content that the government deems to be “inappropriate.” The Chinese gaming industry as a whole has been affected by the government limiting approvals of new game titles. The State Administration of Radio and Television (SART) was formed in March to replace the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT), which in turn forms part of a broader push by the Chinese government to strengthen its control over cultural policies. The Communist Party propaganda department was then given the power to license online games. These regulatory changes resulted in the slowest first-half growth in the sector for a decade. However, the government sees the initiative as a way to battle myopia and regulate what it deems to be harmful content.

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Chris Udemans

Christopher Udemans is a Shanghai-based data and graphics reporter. He covers Chinese artificial intelligence, mobility, and cybersecurity. You can contact him at chrisudemans [at] technode [dot] com.