China's Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Commerce have jointly focused on the management of virtual money for online games with a new regulation which states that virtual currency should not be used in trade of real goods and services.
According to the regulation, the enhanced management of online games focuses on four aspects: the issuers and traders of virtual currency should be separated; virtual currency should not be used to purchase real goods; underage users should not participate in trade of virtual currency; and gambling systems in online games are prohibited.
At the same time, the regulation gives a clear definition for the gambling systems in online games, stating that online game operators should not allocate gaming items or virtual money by accidental means, including drawing lots and betting, when users directly invest cash or virtual money in these items.
This kind of gambling system is apparently a common function in Chinese online games and many Chinese massively multiplayer online role-playing game have such little games operating in the background.
According to reports in local media, China's virtual money trade reached several billion yuan in 2008, increasing by 20% year-on-year, and companies like Tencent attribute much of their revenue to online virtual currency services.