The Beijing News, 6/29/09
According to reports from reliable channels, the issue of when the World of Warcraft (WoW) will be able to reopen service could be out of the hands of new operator Netease (Nasdaq: NTES).
An open response from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication says that after initially approving Netease's application for WoW on June 8, it submitted the application to the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) for approval. Under the Regulations for Management of Electronic Publications, GAPP must render a decision regarding approval or rejection of an electronic publication belonging to an overseas copyright holder within 20 days of receiving an application; in cases where it rejects the application, it must clearly state the reason. An informed source says that evidence now indicates that the review of WoW has been put on hold.
At the 2008 Annual Meeting for China Online Gaming, GAPP said that in order to protect the interests of domestic gaming enterprises, it would suspend review of all games belonging to foreign companies in the event of lawsuits or arbitration between foreign companies and Chinese companies. Over the past two months, since losing operator rights to WoW, former operator The9 (Nasdaq: NCTY) has brought four lawsuits in Shanghai against developer Blizzard - possibly the main reason behind the ongoing delays in the review of WoW.