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Why is China trying to game the gamers?

This week, the market value of Tencent, China's biggest video game company, nosedived after a state media outlet suggested that online gaming was as addictive and destructive as opium. Tencent immediately pledged to cap the number of hours people can play, and to keep minors off its platforms.

It's the latest example of a months-long crackdown on major Chinese technology firms that until recently were viewed as some of the world's most powerful and successful companies, as well as a source of national pride. Beijing's about-face on its own tech titans could have big implications for China, and beyond.

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What We're Watching: Qatar-Saudi embrace, Jack Ma's whereabouts, Egyptian incompetence

Qatar blockade lifted: A bitter dispute between Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar has begun to ease after Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani flew to Saudi Arabia for the Gulf Cooperation Council summit and was warmly embraced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS. The immediate cause of the détente was Riyadh's decision to lift a years-long land and air blockade that significantly disrupted Qatar's economic activity and led to a bitter standoff in the Gulf. (The Saudis, along with Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE launched a joint blockade against Qatar in 2017, citing its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and regional foes Iran and Turkey.) It's unclear what concessions Qatar made in exchange for beginning the normalization process, though President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, a close friend of MBS, has been lobbying for the move for some time. Qatar has long denied claims that it supports Islamic extremist groups and rebuffed demands like terminating Turkey's military presence within its borders. As for the timing for the rapprochement, it could reflect a feeling that increased GCC cooperation is needed as the incoming Biden administration in the US is expected to promptly re-engage in talks with Iran.

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Jack Ma's public absence fuels speculation

January 05, 2021 5:00 AM

BEIJING • Alibaba founder Jack Ma's absence from public view in the past two months, including missing the final episode of a TV show on which he was to appear as a judge, has fuelled social media speculation over his whereabouts amid a Chinese regulatory clampdown on his sprawling business empire.

Ant's equity investments said to be under probe by Chinese regulators

January 03, 2021 5:00 AM

HONG KONG • Chinese regulators are reviewing equity investments by Ant Group in dozens of companies, three people with knowledge of the matter said, intensifying a crackdown on billionaire Jack Ma's financial technology empire.

China fines Alibaba, Tencent for flouting rules in past deals

December 14, 2020 1:49 PM

Chinese regulators have increased scrutiny of tech firms over monopolistic behaviours.

Alibaba's secret three-year experiment to reinvent the factory

November 01, 2020 9:14 AM

Hangzhou (BLOOMBERG) - After helping more than a million brick-and-mortar Chinese retailers modernize their operations, Alibaba has now set its sights on a new target: the country's outdated factories.

Ant's mammoth IPO set to be windfall for Hong Kong market

November 01, 2020 5:00 AM

Summer may be over but the financial world is sizzling with a historic debut on Thursday of ground-breaking proportions.

Jack Ma blasts global financial regulators' curbs on innovation

October 25, 2020 5:31 PM

SHANGHAI (BLOOMBERG) - Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma criticised global financial regulations for stifling innovation and urged China to seek a system that accommodated development.

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