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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's new regulation limiting children under 18 to just three hours of online games per week may be devastating for dedicated gamers, but gaming companies — and the advertisers that rely on them — will likely be fine if they can adapt.

Why it matters: China comprises about a quarter of the world's gaming market; the country's mobile gaming industry alone raked in more than $29 billion in 2020.

  • About 15% of China's estimated 720 million online gamers are under the age of 18.

What's happening: "Despite the recent crackdown, most data points still project an increase in revenue and users," Jeff Sue, a general manager at Mintegral, a global mobile advertising platform, told Axios.

  • Tencent Games has said that users under the age of 16 comprise just 2.6% of revenue, meaning a reduction in that group's screen time may not translate to significant revenue loss.
  • "Most Chinese publishers like NetEase and Tencent Gaming have foreseen restrictions and it plays a role in their global acquisitions," Sue said. "They are able to minimize some of the risk and fluctuations within the Chinese market by looking to markets like France, Turkey, U.S., etc."
  • That is reasonably good news for advertisers who rely on Chinese games for revenue and brand recognition, but in-app purchases might suffer, Sue said.

The big picture: Online gaming addiction among young people has been a major social concern in China (and elsewhere) for years.

  • An industry of boot-camp-style treatment centers has even sprung up, with Chinese parents paying to send their kids to these discipline-focused programs to break internet and gaming addictions.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - World

Biden's ambassador nominee: "China is not an Olympian power"

Nick Burns testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee to serve as ambassador to China delivered a stark assessment of the challenges the U.S. faces in confronting Beijing, but stressed that the rising superpower is "not all-powerful" and the West retains "substantial" advantages.

The big picture: Nicholas Burns, a retired career diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to NATO, used his confirmation hearing Wednesday to echo the growing bipartisan consensus that China poses "the greatest threat to the security of our country and the democratic world" in the 21st century.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.