China to ban minors from tipping live streamers after 10 p.m.

Beauty blogger Austin Li Jiaqi speaks with a dog on her lap during a live broadcast on Taobao e-commerce platform on October 26, 2018 in Shanghai, China. Li, 27, nicknamed “Lipstick Brother”, is China’s hottest online beauty blogger.

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China’s broadcasting regulator on Saturday introduced new rules that ban minors under the age of 16 from watching live content after 10 p.m., dealing a blow to the booming sector.

Online live-streaming platforms must ban minors from tipping live streamers, China’s State Administration of Radio and Television said in a statement. A common practice is to buy virtual gifts from livestreamers which can be exchanged for cash.

These live-streaming platforms have led minors to engage in such tipping practices, which has seriously damaged their physical and mental health, he said.

The rules would continue the country’s crackdown on the live-streaming industry, with authorities last month launching a campaign to promote what they deem appropriate and legal on live-streaming platforms.

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China’s massive live-streaming market has grown rapidly. The real-time online shopping phenomenon – also known as “live commerce” or “live e-commerce” – took off in China after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

These platforms sell goods directly to consumers through what can amount to hours of live video. Apart from individual Internet personalities, vendors also include tech giants such as Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace, Kuaishou, Pinduoduo, ByteDance’s Douyin.

Some of these companies reported an explosion in livestreaming activity last year.

“It’s breaking news. Check back for updates.

– CNBC’s Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.

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