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Focus on China — Stocks fall; Video game revenue slides; China fines Didi Global $1.2 billion

RIYADH: Chinese stocks fell on Thursday as concerns over new COVID-19 outbreaks and a boycott of mortgage payments overshadowed gains in tech stocks.

China’s blue chip CSI300 index lost 1.1%, while the Shanghai Composite index was down 1%. In Hong Kong, the benchmark Hang Seng index fell 1.5%.

Video game revenue plummets

China’s video game industry revenue fell in the first half of 2022 for the first time since data became available 14 years ago, as the world’s largest video game market continues to recover from the tightening of Beijing monitoring.

Combined industry revenue fell 1.8% to 147.7 billion yuan ($21.8 billion) in the six months to June, according to a report released Thursday by the China Association of Industry. Audio-Video and Digital Publishing, a state-backed industry group.

It’s the first drop since data began to be released in 2008 and reflects how China’s huge gaming industry, once marked by runaway growth, has been badly bruised by Beijing’s efforts to bolster its industry surveillance, including reducing the number of game licenses distributed and limiting game time for teenagers.

The report also shows that the number of players nationwide fell for the first time to 665.69 million from 666.57 million in December.

Domestic revenue for Chinese game companies fell 4.25% to 124.5 billion yuan. With heavy domestic regulations, companies looked to overseas markets for growth, where revenues rose 6.16% to nearly $9 billion during the period.

China fines Didi Global $1.2 billion

China’s cybersecurity regulator on Thursday fined Didi Global Inc. $1.2 billion, concluding an investigation that forced the ride-hailing leader to drop from the New York listing within a year of its debut and made foreign investors wary of China’s tech sector.

Didi breached the Cyberspace Administration of China, when it continued its listing on the US stock exchange, even though it was asked to wait while a cybersecurity review of its data practices was carried out, have sources previously told Reuters.

The CAC said Didi violated three major laws regarding cybersecurity, data security and personal information protection, a regime the country overhauled and expanded last year as part of efforts to regulate its cyberspace and compel companies to improve their data processing.

The regulator also said its investigation found that Didi illegally collected millions of user details over a seven-year period from June 2015 and carried out data processing activities that seriously affected national security.

(Contributed by Reuters)

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