14k Chinese games companies reportedly have gone bust due to approval holdup

14k Chinese games companies reportedly have gone bust due to approval holdup

In the region of 14,000 games companies have been delisted in China owing to a new holdup in the regulatory approval process.

That's according to local newspaper Securities Daily – as reported by South China Morning Post – which says that since July 2021, around 14,000 studios and other "gaming-related firms" have gone out of business, citing data from business tracking firm Tianyancha. By comparison, it's reported that 18,000 games companies went bust during the whole of 2020.

This is due to China's approval body – the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) – not allowing any new titles to release in the region since July. That's approaching six months now, which is bringing it close to the nine-month regulatory hold-up that took place during 2018.

This new approval freeze has come in the wake of a new moral panic surrounding video games in the region. During the summer, an article appeared in local media outlet Economic Information Daily describing video games as "spiritual opium," before stricter regulations were rolled out in China that dictated how much time kids could spend playing games. Over 200 companies in the region have signed a commitment to self-regulation, too, owing to video game addiction concerns. 

Meanwhile, the NPPA has also reportedly introduced stricter regulations for what content can be allowed in video games.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.