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China to tighten restrictions on online education, video games for minors

China’s Ministry of Education will strengthen rules to protect children’s sleep by limiting online education and gaming services, the ministry said on Friday.

In a statement on the ministry’s website, he said online education companies should not offer live-streamed courses for minors after 9 p.m. local time.

The ministry also said companies should not offer online video game services for minors between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. local time.

“Sleep is essential for promoting brain development, bone growth, vision protection, physical and mental health, and improving the learning ability and efficiency of primary and secondary school students,” he said.

Investors have raised their bets on China’s online education sector, which has attracted growing interest after the coronavirus outbreak sparked a widespread shift to remote learning.

Major companies include GSX, Yuanfudao, which is backed by Tencent, and Zuoyebang, which is backed by Alibaba (NYSE: BABA ).

China has also stepped up its efforts to regulate the online video game industry, citing concerns about potentially violent and addictive games, putting pressure on companies such as Tencent (HK: 0700 ) and Netease.

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