China breaks 3-year record of game license approvals in 2023

A user playing a mobile game during ChinaJoy in Shanghai, July 28, 2023. /CFP

A user playing a mobile game during ChinaJoy in Shanghai, July 28, 2023. /CFP

China’s gaming regulator approved a three-year-record-high number of new game licenses in 2023, sending a signal that it is supportive of the industry’s healthy growth.

China’s National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) approved 105 new domestic game licenses on Monday, marking the first time that the number of licenses approved in a single issuance has exceeded 100.

The NPPA approved a total of 1,075 game licenses in 2023, more than double the approvals in 2022.

In addition to approving more game licenses, the NPPA is also working to strengthen industry regulations. The NPPA released a draft of new regulations on online gaming for public feedback on December 22. The draft regulations include provisions to protect minors and limits on high-spending.

The Chinese game industry has been growing rapidly in recent years. Nationwide sales of domestically-developed games reached 256.3 billion yuan ($35.9 billion) in 2023, up 15.29 percent year on year.

Meanwhile, overseas sales of domestically developed games reached $16.3 billion this year, according to an industry report led by the NPPA.

Chinese authorities have also acknowledged the gaming industry’s contribution to breakthroughs in key technologies.

A report co-compiled by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) showed that the contribution of gaming technology to the development of chip, artificial intelligence and cloud computing technologies reached 18.65 percent, 31.37 percent and 51.08 percent, respectively, in 2022.

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