TikTok owner ByteDance is in talks with buyers including Chinese tech giant Tencent to sell its gaming arm, a company spokesperson said Tuesday, as it seeks to shed once-promising assets in the highly competitive sector.
The discussions would see the firm sell Nuverse, a video game publisher that is a subsidiary of Beijing-based ByteDance.
Nuverse was once viewed by the firm as a vital component in its bid to catch up with Tencent, a leader in the global gaming industry and one of China’s largest media conglomerates.
Efforts to reach a deal are still ongoing, the spokesperson told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The development comes after ByteDance made sweeping reductions to its gaming division last November, including a round of layoffs cutting hundreds of jobs.
The move marked a retreat from the competitive sector — worth $42.2 billion last year, according to official figures – after Nuverse failed to achieve the commercial success ByteDance had hoped for at the time of its launch in 2019.
China is the world’s largest gaming market, and Tencent is the global leader in the sector in terms of revenue.
But it has faced increasing challenges as authorities impose tighter restrictions on gaming, especially for young people.
Since 2021, children under 18 years old have only been allowed to play online between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the school term.
And during next month’s Spring Festival Holiday, users under the age of 18 will face similar limitations, implemented through a real-name verification system, linked to national ID cards, Tencent said.
In a Tuesday WeChat post explaining the rules, Tencent said it hoped “adults and children alike can play games with self-discipline”.
Beijing last month said it might revise newly drafted online gaming rules aimed at limiting in-game purchases and preventing obsessive gaming behaviour, after the regulations triggered a sell-off in major tech stocks.