Tencent’s kingdom is under assault from China’s regulators

LAST December, at a conference in the southern city of Guangzhou, Pony Ma joked that he felt a little nervous to be parted from his phone while on stage. He was responding to criticism about the addictive nature of smartphones, fuelled by what some in China call “electronic opium”: video games, among Tencent’s best-known products and its single-biggest revenue source. Mr Ma, its boss (and China’s richest man, according to the latest annual ranking from Forbes, a magazine), added that his myopia had worsened of late and that eye strain was “also a problem”.

Xi Jinping, it emerged, takes such things more seriously. Last week, according to state media, China’s leader read with dismay a report on the poor eyesight of his young citizens. Late on August 30th the ministry of education and other bodies published a plan to prevent myopia in children and teenagers. Among encyclopedic instructions to beef up the training of optometrists and to adjust the height of school chairs,...



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