TikTok owner Bytedance was on Friday granted its first mobile game license from Chinese regulators, according to records from an official database.

Why it matters: The license, issued by the Chinese National Radio and Television Administration (CNRTA), allows Bytedance to earn revenue from mobile games.

  • A regulation issued in 2016 requires gaming companies to obtain approval from CNRTA for each paid mobile game or game with in-app purchases before publishing to China’s multi-billion-dollar gaming market.
  • After taking a large share of the social media and online advertising markets dominated by Tencent, Bytedance is now ready to compete with the established Chinese internet giant in the gaming sector.

Details: A Bytedance subsidiary was granted on Friday a game license for a mobile game named “Fighting Girl Run” (our translation), according to the NRTA’s license database (in Chinese).

  • The game is currently not available on major mobile app stores including Apple’s App Store, Xiaomi’s Mi Store, or Huawei’s App Gallery, as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • The license is the first game license that the company or its subsidiaries have been granted.

Context: Bytedance tapped the mobile game market with the release of its in-app mini-game feature on its short video app Douyin last year.

  • Bloomberg reported in January that Bytedance is building a gaming division of more than 1,000 employees.
  • The report also said Bytedance’s first two games were set to be released this spring in both Chinese and overseas markets.
  • The company appointed Yan Shou, an executive overseeing Bytedance’s strategy and investment unit, to lead its gaming business.
  • Last month, Apple asked game makers worldwide to submit their game license numbers if they want to monetize their products in China.

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.

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