GUANGZHOU, China — Shares of Tencent and NetEase plunged on Tuesday after Chinese state media branded online gaming "opium" and likened it to a drug.
The article also called for further restrictions on the industry in order to prevent addiction and other negative impacts on children.
The article was deleted a few hours after publication but has since been re-published with a new headline and references to "opium" removed.
Tencent shares closed around 6% lower, while NetEase closed down almost 8% in Hong Kong, with both companies clawing back some earlier losses. Tencent is one of the world's largest gaming companies responsible for high-profile games like "Honor of Kings."
NetEase declined to comment. Tencent was not immediately available for comment.
The article, by Economic Information Daily, a Chinese state-run publication that's affiliated to the official Xinhua newspaper, said that online gaming addiction among children is "widespread" and could negatively impact their growth.