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Report: Tencent dials back game marketing budget to weather China’s game freeze

With no information as to when China's months-long freeze on issuing new game licenses will end, Tencent is reportedly shifting its budget to weather the halt.

With no information as to when China’s months-long freeze on issuing new game licenses will end, Tencent is reportedly shifting its budget to weather the halt. 

According to an internal document picked up by Bloomberg, Tencent has asked its marketing execs to “endure the hard times together” by keeping a tight grip on marketing spend. 

Tencent is asking, per the memo, for projects to return their unspent marketing cash to the larger company’s coffers if those games weren’t able to grab a license from the Chinese government ahead of the freeze. Tencent declined the publication’s request for comment on the memo.

The freeze has been ongoing for most of 2018 and follows the restructuring of the internal government office that usually handles issuing licenses for games to release in China. Up until just recently, game makers could obtain a provisional “green channel” approval that allowed titles to launch and monetize for a period of one month, but that program was quietly shuttered just a few weeks ago. 

While some analysts say that the end of the freeze is in sight, Tencent and other companies that expected revenue from China’s massive game market are still feeling the effects of the halt. In addition to this marketing shift, the company previously underwent a restructuring effort aimed at increasing its focus on corporate clients, its first major restructure in 6 years.

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