China’s food delivery giant Meituan Dianping is hiring game developers in a sign that the US$30 billion company is preparing to make a foray into video gaming, even as the government seeks to limit the damage that unchecked gaming can have on the mental and physical health of the country’s youth. The Beijing-based firm on Monday posted several game-related job ads on Chinese resume sites, with positions ranging from coders to art designers to producers. On liepin.com, one job opening said Meituan is offering an annual salary of as much as 530,000 yuan (US$78,300) for a game producer with at least five years of experience. Wang Huiwen, Meituan’s co-founder and senior vice-president, confirmed the move, though he also sought to downplay it. “I’m just giving it a try, don’t overthink it,” he said in a WeChat posting. Meituan declined to comment on the hiring beyond Wang’s remarks. Gaming addiction debate reignites with Tencent in spotlight The gaming industry in China has sought to assuage government concerns about youth addiction, with market-share leader Tencent introducing curbs on playing time for vulnerable groups. Mobile gaming has been blamed by the government for contributing to youth myopia while lawmakers have accused gaming companies of peddling products that are as addictive and enfeebling as opium. In 2018, China’s gaming market grew at the slowest pace in at least a decade, increasing 5 per cent to 214 billion yuan in revenue, according to data from Beijing-based research firm CNG. A nine-month-long government freeze on approval of new games had hurt revenues for developers and publishers. The process restarted last month as the new gaming regulator, the State Administration of Press and Publications, granted licenses to about 80 titles in two batches. Meituan raised US$4.2 billion in an initial public offering in Hong Kong in September, but has since lost about 40 per cent from its peak reached soon after its listing. Despite handling almost 20 million food-delivery orders a day, the on-demand services platform saw losses widen to 83.3 billion yuan in the third quarter on higher costs. The company is in the middle of a subsidy war with rivals like Alibaba-owned Ele.me. Before its IPO, Meituan expanded into new business including ride-hailing and bike-sharing, although it is still unclear how the company intends to make a profit from these services. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post .