Two arms of the Chinese government appear to be battling over whether or not non-Chinese companies can operate online games within the country’s borders.
The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) issued a statement on Friday saying that “foreign companies are not allowed to operate online games in China in any form.” The only problem? Control of China’s online gaming industry was taken away from GAPP last month and given to the Ministry of Culture. Proactive Investors reports that Tuo Zu Hai, a Vice Director in the Ministry of Culture was “startled to hear the news” emanating from GAPP.
Reuters states that the ban covers all foreign investment in online games, including joint ventures, agreements and technology support, which may not be good news for NetEase.com, the new operator of World of Warcraft in China.
While GAPP’s position is not entirely new, the story notes that strict enforcement of the ideology was not previously common place.
The statement from GAPP was released just in advance of the kick off of the Game Developers Conference in Shanghai, which opened today.