Categories: Regulation

China Gaming Company Chief ‘To Move Abroad’

The chief executive and co-founder of prominent Chinese gaming company XD plans to leave the country next year, amidst a regulatory crackdown that has placed severe restrictions on the industry.

Huang Yimeng, 40, said in an internal memo that he is planning to move abroad “after next summer break”, Reuters reported.

Huang did not disclose his intended destination and the company said he planned to return frequently to China.

XD said Huang’s position was unchanged and that the move was not related to the firm’s current situation and future outlook, saying it was primarily related to Huang’s family situation.

NetEase recently delayed the China release of Diablo Immortal, one of the most anticipated games of the year. Image credit NetEase

Emigration

In the memo Huang cited family reasons and rising gaming opportunities overseas, making no reference to China’s regulatory environment.

While regulators have given signs this year of easing up on the crackdown, which began in late 2020, the hotly anticipated game Diablo Immortal was delayed in China last week after the game’s official social media account became embroiled in a row with censors.

An ongoing zero-Covid policy in China has created disruption that has also led to emigrations.

The policy notably led to a two-month lockdown in Shanghai, where XD is based, which Huang lived through.

Zero-Covid policy

Huang did not mention the lockdown but said in the memo he hoped policies would be “more relaxed” a year from now.

“The ideal situation is that our domestic COVID policies can be more relaxed a year from now, and international relations can be more calm and open, in which case we all can frequently move about depending on the needs of our work and life,” he wrote.

He mentioned his family priorities and the company’s growth plans overseas.

“I personally place equal priority on career and family, and in the future our company’s overseas operations will count for a higher proportion,” he said in the memo, adding that his vision was for XD to become a global company.

XD confirmed the plans and said Huang was not planning on taking on a foreign nationality.

Regulatory crackdown

Huang co-founded XD in 2009 and over the past decade it has become known as a publisher of small independent games.

Forbes last year estimated his fortune to be worth $1.2 billion (£980m).

XD was one of the first firms to receive a licence earlier this year after regulators ended a nine-month freeze on approving games.

Regulators halted approvals for new games in July of last year over concerns children were addicted to them, and only resumed issuing licences for new online games in April.

In the meantime las August regulators banned Chinese children from playing videoames for more than three hours a week in a move that hit game makers’ share prices and slowed revenue growth.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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