Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick said during a recent Goldman Sachs conference that although the US-based publisher has a “small, solid” business in China, video game trade between the two countries is currently an uneven playing field, which requires the US government’s intervention.
Zelnick noted that Chinese companies are free to come to the US to trade, and market and distribute their titles in the country. However, Western businesses are required to give up half of their ownership to a local company in China. This, alongside politically-motivated policies, presents a problem for Western companies.
At the risk of being a little bit political, our government actually does need to take a position with regard to our trade with China. Because we have a completely odd and unequal situation where Chinese companies can come to the US and buy companies, no problem. And if they don’t want to do that they can bring a title here and market and distribute it, no problem, and keep all the proceeds. We, in order to go to China, have to have half of our business owned by a local company. The good news is that they provide expertise, which is great, and we have great relationships with companies like Tencent. We’re thrilled to be in business with them. But we don’t have a choice, to be clear. And furthermore, we need government approval, which is politically driven.
Zelnick added that China has also been stealing Take-Two’s intellectual property “for a really long time,” which must change.
This isn’t the first time a video game company has voiced its concerns over the Chinese government’s practices. China’s own companies, including Tencent, have become victims of politically-motivated decisions like restricting video game sales to combat myopia in children.