Shares in China’s biggest online gaming companies slumped after state media branded their products “spiritual opium” and compared them to “electronic drugs”.
The criticism – as reported by Reuters news agency – has stoked concerns that the online gaming sector will be the next to receive unwanted attention from Beijing’s regulators, following a crackdown on tech giants in the country.
Tencent’s stock tumbled by more than 10% in morning trade on Tuesday, wiping almost $60bn from its market capitalisation.
Smaller rival NetEase dropped by more than 15%, while fellow companies XD Inc and GMGE Technology Group Ltd also fell.
It followed an article published by the state-run Economic Information Daily that warned teenagers were addicted to online video games and called for the industry to be curbed.
The newspaper particularly criticised Tencent’s flagship game Honour Of Kings, which it reported was sometimes played by students…