Associated Press BEIJING – As Chinese regulators continue to crack down on the technology industry, China bans children from playing online games for more than three hours a week, which is by far the most severe restriction on the gaming industry. According to a notice from the State Administration of Press and Publication, starting from September 1st, minors in China can only play games between 8pm and 9pm on Fridays, weekends and public holidays. This limits the game to three hours per week for most of the year, which is lower than the limit set in 2019 that allows minors to play for one and a half hours a day and three hours on public holidays. The new regulations affect some of China’s largest technology companies, including gaming giant Tencent, whose online multiplayer games are very popular around the world, and gaming company NetEase. Before the regulator’s announcement, Tencent’s share price closed down 0.6% to HK$465.80 on Monday. Its $573 billion market value has fallen by more than $300 billion from its peak in February, which is equivalent to the total value of Nike or Pfizer. NetEase shares, which are listed in New York, fell about 9% at the opening. Gaming restrictions are part of the ongoing crackdown on technology companies because there are concerns that technology companies—many of which provide ubiquitous messaging, payment, and gaming services—may have a huge impact on society. Earlier this month, Tencent stated that it would limit the playing time of minors to 1 hour a day and 2 hours on holidays, and prohibit children under 12 from making in-game purchases. The company issued restrictions hours after a state-owned newspaper criticized the gaming industry and called the game “mental opium.” The regulator said in a notice on Monday that they will strengthen supervision and increase the frequency of inspections of online game companies to ensure that they strictly abide by the regulations. Chinese authorities have targeted e-commerce and online education in recent months, and have implemented new regulations to curb anti-competitive behavior in the technology industry after years of rapid growth. Last month, the authorities banned the profits of companies that provide core school subject tutoring, wiping out billions of dollars in market value from online education companies such as Good Future Education and Gaotu Technology.