© Reuters

Tencent shares jumped on Friday after the Chinese government signalled the lifting of a nine month-long block on the release of new online games, in a reprieve for China's social media and gaming giant. 

Tencent, which has seen $200bn in market capitalisation wiped this year partially as a result of the freeze, said it was "confident" it will soon be able to resume releasing new games.

China's gaming sector was put on ice in late March when regulators stopped approving commercial licences for online games.

The block came after a government re-organisation placing media regulation under direct control of the Chinese Communist party. 

Video gaming executives had not expected licence approvals to resume in 2018. 

Feng Shixin, a propaganda ministry official, said at a gaming conference on Friday that "the first batch of games has already finished the inspection process, we will strive to quickly issue new licence numbers”.

Tencent shares were 4.1 per cent higher in Hong Kong on Friday. The stock is down 35 per cent since hitting a record high in late January. 

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