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Tencent's annual revenue drops for first time

STORY: Tencent reported its first ever drop in annual revenue on Wednesday (March 22).

The world'd largest video game firm posted revenue of $81 billion - down 1% from a year before, and below analyst forecasts.

There were some positive signs towards the end of the year, though.

Tencent's revenue for the fourth quarter ended December rose 1% from a year earlier to $21 billion.

Revenue from online ads was one driver, rising 15%.

Tencent has been hit by a slowdown in China's economy due to the health crisis.

And the company also suffered due to a long-running regulatory crackdown.

But some in the sector are hopeful about a recovery this year.

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Regulators have started granting publishing licenses for new games since late last year after a months-long freeze.

In China, unlike most countries, video games need approval from authorities before release.