Below is a translation of China’s approval process for foreign games, taken directly from the NPPA website. The process applies to all online and mobile games developed or owned by non-Chinese entities.

For more information on obtaining a Chinese game license, please visit our guide to publishing your game in China or get in touch with our publishing team via bd@yodo1.com


Approval process for publishing online games by overseas copyright owners

Basis for setting

“Decision of the State Council on the Establishment of Administrative Licensing for Administrative Approval Items That Must Be Retained” (State Council Order No. 412, Annex 328: Approval of the publication of electronic publications (including Internet games) authorized by foreign copyright holders.

License conditions
  1. The publishing unit must be an online publishing service unit with an online game publishing certificate;
  2. The online game authorized by the overseas copyright owners must have gone through the copyright contract registration procedures of the national copyright administration;
  3. Game operating institutions must have the “Telecom and Information Service Business License” (ICP certificate);
  4. The online game must comply with the “Publishing Regulations”, “Internet Information Service Management Measures”, “Network Publishing Service Management Regulations” and other laws and regulations;
  5. The publishing agency must comply with the relevant national regulations on the protection of minors and other regulations on game operation activities.
  • Quantitative restrictions

Meet the requirements for the relevant total amount, structure, and layout planning.

  • Licensed program

The application unit shall submit the application materials for examination and approval of publications to the local provincial publication administration department, which shall submit the application materials to the State Press and Publication Administration for examination and approval after being examined and approved by the provincial publishing administration.

  • License period

80 working days from the date of application acceptance.

  • List of materials to be submitted
A. Application document to be submitted to the General Administration of Press and Publication by the local provincial publishing administration:
  1. The primary recipient is the General Administration of Press and Publication. There should be a header, a document number, and a complete official seal;
  2. The text shall specify the name of the game, the game category (computer or mobile or game console or other), publishing unit, operation unit, and the content of the items to be declared. If it is a console game, the type of game console shall be stated in the document;
  3. The name of the game should be simple and clear, highly generalized, and reflect the game content; in principle, characters other than simplified Chinese characters are not allowed to be used, and the same name as another approved game is not allowed; the name of the game shall not violate the provisions of relevant national laws and regulations; the game content shall not violate the provisions of articles 25 and 26 of the “Regulations on the Administration of Publication” and shall not contain vulgar, obscene, kitsch or other content that violates the core socialist values;
  4. For a game, request for documents, and submit materials in A4 paper size, 1 type, 2 copies, no need to bind into a book.
B. Application for publishing online games authorized by overseas copyright owners
  1. This application form is applicable for the declaration of various types of imported online games;
  2. “Publishing professionals” refers to the publishing and editing personnel who are engaged in the game content audit in the publishing unit and have the professional qualification of junior, intermediate, and above, respectively;
  3. The “overseas operation of the game” shall include: the earliest overseas launch time and location of the game launch, the countries or regions where the game is still in operation, the number of overseas users, the game’s revenue, and the social reflection of the game;
  4. The “operating organization’s game operation situation” refers to the specific situation of the operating organization’s daily game operation activities. The brief introduction should include: how long the organization has been in existence, when the organization first carried out operation activities, the games that have been operated, the games in operation, and other relevant particulars;
  5. “Publishing professionals” refers to publishing editors who are actually engaged in the review of game content in publishing units, and have junior, intermediate, and above publishing professional qualifications;
  6. The “review report” of the publishing unit must include: an accurate introduction to the content of the game, the review time of the publishing unit, the problems found in the review and the revision process, and the final clear review opinions;
  7. The application form must be signed by the editor in charge of the game review and the editor in chief of the publishing unit, and then stamped with the official seal of the publishing unit (both the responsible editor and the chief editor must meet the professional qualification requirements of corresponding posts, and relevant qualification certificates must be provided when submitting relevant materials for the first time).
C. National Copyright Administration’s approval of copyright contract registration (photocopy);
  1. The title of the reply shall be the publisher, and the name of the game, the name of the overseas copyright owner, and the contents of the declaration shall be clearly stated in the text, and the special seal for copyright registration of the National Copyright Administration shall be affixed;
  2. If the name of the overseas copyright owner is not specified, the copyright contract registration form of the National Copyright Administration or the copy of the authorization contract of the overseas copyright owner shall be submitted;
  3. For the non-overseas IP licensing games, independently developed by domestic foreign-funded enterprises (including Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan), the copyright certification materials and the copy of the authorization contract with the official seal of the copyright owner can be provided; if the game is an overseas IP licensing game, the approval of the copyright contract registration of the National Copyright Administration is still required.
D. Business license and ICP certificate of business entity (photocopy)

A copy with the official seal of the operating agency. If the operating agency and the copyright owner are not the same enterprise, a copy of the operation contract signed between the operating agency and the copyright owner shall be submitted, and the official seal of the copyright owner shall be affixed.

E. Game screenshots

The screenshots must be clear pictures with color printing, the number of which shall not be less than 10, which reflect the core content and basic features of the game, including at least 1 picture of the main interface of the game with the name of the game.

F. Instructions for the anti-addiction system in games;
  1. According to the requirements of the notice on preventing minors from over-indulging in online games, there must be a screenshot to illustrate the settings of the real-name registration system, time duration control system, payment system, and tourist mode;
  2. Provide the real and effective guarantee that the content cannot be viewed by third parties before the game is launched, by establishing a real-name registration system, payment system, duration control system during legal holidays, etc.
  3. Review process and conclusion of the anti-addiction system of the provincial publishing management department and publishing unit.
G. Full text of Chinese scripts in the game.
  1. The full text of  Chinese scripts refers to the set of all Chinese characters that appear in the game, including but not limited to system prompts, NPC dialogues, mission plot descriptions, game prop names, etc.;
  2. Only the electronic version of this material is required.
H. “Administrator” account for content review and test account for the anti-addiction system in games;
  1. The “Administrator” account used for content review must be an adult account, and must include a high, medium, low, and blank account, of which the high, medium, and low accounts must be bound to game resources or currencies that meet the needs of the review;
  2. There are two groups for anti-addiction system test accounts, each with a high, middle, and low level, bound to game resources or currencies that meet the needs of the review.
 I. Game review supporting materials;
  1. Client games must submit three copies of the client CD or U disk;
  2. Web games must provide the game login URL;
  3. Mobile games must provide a CD or USB flash drive with three copies of the installation package or the download URL of the installation package;
  4. Online download or stand-alone games must provide a download URL and specify the game installation environment and conditions;
  5. If the game needs to be run on a gaming machine or other special review equipment, two copies of the special review equipment for the installed game must be provided (the review equipment will be returned to the reporting unit after the game is approved);
  6. The client can be installed, the test or download URL can be opened, the game can be run, the account can be used normally, and the declared game version must be completely consistent with the published version.
J. CD-ROM or U-disk containing electronic documents and game demonstration videos of all declared text materials.
  1. Three copies of the CD or U disk;
  2. The name of the game and the words “electronic documentation”, “demo video”, and “installation package” are marked on the CD or U disk, and the application materials are arranged in order;
  3. The duration of the game demonstration video shall not be less than 10 minutes. The video shall display healthy game advice, the game title, the main interface of the game, the anti-addiction system effects, all character images, all accessible scenes, and all systems that can be experienced. If there is a combat system, the actual combat effect in the game must be displayed, and the duration of this display shall not be less than 2 minutes.

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