HK Magazine Archive

Pokémon GO Launches, Productivity and Nintendo Shares Plummet

Some employers have expressed concern over the effects of Pokémon GO on their workers' productivity. Meantime, things were looking good for Hong Kong stocks during yesterday's launch—but the same can't be said of Nintendo. 

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 July, 2016, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 5:18pm

Productivity dropped in Hong Kong yesterday due to the launch of augmented reality smartphone game Pokémon GO—or so some employers in the city seemed to fear.

One company went with it and let its staff take the afternoon off to catch virtual pocket monsters. But this notice from another company warned employees against playing the game during office hours—unless they want to become full-time Pokémon trainers.

Meanwhile, our boss made sure we didn’t go back to the office until we’d committed a full hour to playing the game live on Facebook at a very sunny Tai Po Waterfront Park:

Hong Kong is the second Asian city after Japan to gain access to the Niantic, Inc. game, which is partially owned by Japanese company Nintendo. Within the first 24 hours since its launch, the app topped the iTunes free apps chart.

In response to the craze, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Hospital Authority and the People’s Liberation Army, as well as religious institutions, have cautioned the public against hunting for virtual pocket monsters on their premises. The police also posted a video on social media all about safe gaming.

But despite productivity fears, Hong Kong doesn't seem to have suffered all that much. The Hang Seng Index increased by 29 points yesterday and rose to a 2016 high this morning. Share prices of other mobile service provides have also gone up in hopes that more data will be used, although mobile phone operators such as CSL and 1010 have announced that their customers will get free unlimited data when playing the game.

Read More: These Nintendo Pokémon Are Getting Different Names in Cantonese

Meanwhile, share prices at Tencent Holdings rose yesterday: Analysts expect that if Pokémon Go launches in China, its maker might choose to work with influential Chinese game companies, such as Tencent, to try overcome mapping obstacles.

Over in Japan, though, Nintendo shares plummeted 18 percent after almost doubling due to the initial success of the game. This came after the company, which owns only a small stake in the app, admitted that it won’t profit much from the Pokémon Go fever.