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China Restricts Livestreamers, Bans Underage Tipping

Authorities also mandated viewing hours for livestreaming,  saying shows will need to be “forcibly” turned off by 10 p.m. local time for users of their parental control functions


Chinese livestreaming stars Viya (Huang Wei), far left, and Li Jiaqi, right. Photo: Reuters

 

China on Saturday ordered internet platforms to stop underage users from “tipping” livestreamers or becoming livestreamers themselves without guardian consent, the National Radio and Television Administration said in a statement.

Tipping involves viewers paying money to buy virtual gifts to reward the livestreamers.

Live streaming platforms will not be allowed to show tables that rank livestreamers solely on the amount of tipping received. They will be required to use multiple criteria to rank hosts and make recommendations to users.

Authorities also mandated viewing hours for livestreaming, saying shows will need to be “forcibly” turned off by 10 p.m. local time for users of their parental control “youth mode” functions.

Analysts said they did not expect the changes to have a severe impact on the industry, as most players had already factored in tighter regulation.

“We believe these reaffirm the rules that are already in place and platforms have been following the requirements,” Thomas Chong, Jefferies analyst, said.

The orders come after China last month launched a two-month special campaign to clean up “chaos” in online livestreaming and short-video businesses, part of a broader plan to promote what is deemed as appropriate and legal content.

Among the country’s most prominent livestreaming platforms are ByteDance’s Douyin, similar to TikTok, Kuaishou, Alibaba-backed Bilibili, as well as Huya and Douyu, which are both backed by Tencent Holdings.

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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