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miHoYo’s New Account Security Policy Controversy Reveals the Fragile Balance of The Account Trading Market in China.

By Johnson Ge
Feb. 16, 2022 updated 11:02

Recently, Chinese players found miHoYo had silently changed its authentication method. The new method allows a player to change their accounts’ password or security phone number after performing a successful facial verification. It will help players easily recover their hacked accounts. But surprisingly, there are many people upset about this because it broke the fragile balance of Genshin Impact account trading.

Like in many countries, account trading is a grey area in China. Though there is no law either in support or against account trading directly, most game providers forbid account trading in their Terms of Service or End User License Agreement. In this case, if a player wants to buy or sell an account, their options are to do it privately or find a 3rd party platform.

In 2020, a statistical agency [1]calculated that the market scale of Virtual Item Trading in China is 63 billion CNY, equal to 10 billion USD. It is around a quarter of the global market scale.

In regular private trading, the seller will give sensitive information like username, password, and email to the buyer/agent and let them change these afterward. In the game provider’s point of view, such a platform is acting as an “illegal” account market, while some players defend using these markets because there are no “legal markets” fulfilling their needs.

A regular trading process on one trading platform.

Obviously, trades such as these are high-risk; either side could be a scammer who plans to get both the money and the account then disappear. For example, the seller can report to the game provider that their account has been hacked after the trade and request to take their account back. Additionally, people sell hacked accounts while advertising them to the buyer as consensual sales. Phishing scams are common in account trading as well. Scammers will act as a buyer and give the seller a “Trading Website”, which is a phishing site. Anyone buying their lies will lose money quickly.

On, there are over 72,000 complaints about the largest virtual item trading platform in China. is a trusted third-party website where people can leave comments and reviews, especially about companies not living up to their policies or protecting customers, for public view. Many of them are about how they got scammed and how the platform they were using offered little help.

There are various kinds of complaints about the platform, including scammers, rights abuse, trading delays etc.

But still, a fragile but workable balance was built among the dubious groups. One of the unwritten rules was that accounts are ranked into different “safety levels”: the more of the core information that can be changed by the buyer, the “safer” the account is. In Genshin Impact’s case, if the buyer can fully access the secure email, the account will be considered as “safest”, meaning a seller cannot retrieve it by any method.

A ranking method of Genshin Impact accounts made by players. 

However, the recent change miHoYo has adopted impacted the “safety level”, real-ID with facial verification now acts top layer of account security, superseding all other verification methods. This means that the “safest” account where the buyer has full control of the email may become “unsafe” if the ID information is not theirs. Over the last few days, some players have complained that their accounts have been retrieved by the sellers using this new method. Their precious accounts and the memories they have made with them are now gone. Some other players are worried that their purchased accounts may share the same fate.

Despite how it shocked the account trading market, some believed miHoYo did this to fit the latest governmental policies. In September 2021, China strengthened restrictions on underage players and since then, minors are only allowed to play 3 hours per week. To ensure the policy works, each account has since been required to have an available real-ID bound with it. This made the account trading more complicated since it now involves real-ID trading which directly violates the law.

On Sep 13th, CCTV aired an interview program indicating that account selling/renting is illegal.

Many underage players tried buying or renting accounts from adults to bypass the restriction. Later, multiple articles from CCTV,, emphasized that selling/renting accounts to minors is illegal. Trading platforms soon shut down all renting services and announced they would not provide any service for minors.

On many platforms, the renting service has been suspended since September 2021 and has not yet resumed.

On many platforms, the renting service has been suspended since September 2021 and has not yet resumed.

There is a long history of minors using adult IDs to play games among Chinese players. In 2012, there was an amusing case in the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft. During a new expansion of the game, an update allowed players to share mounts among their characters under the same account. Soon, players found that there were people who owned a great deal of exclusive and rare mounts, who all shared the name “Wang Suiqiang”(王碎锵).

A friend list screenshot with Wang Suiqiang’s name on it.

Within no time, curious players figured out how the glitch worked. Word of Warcraft accounts could be split into two accounts with the same real-ID by then. This allowed players the ability to get mounts from other players by buying their split accounts. Some account owners thought it was an excellent chance to make a lot of money. Among those accounts, Wang Suiqiang’s account had the largest number of rare mounts and became the most popular one.

People also found the fact that Wang Suiqiang was a 70-years-old farmer who was unlikely to be playing an MMO like World of Warcraft. Many believed it was his grandchild who was playing and selling his ID to others.

Things soon went crazy when there were 3000 new accounts split per day with the name of Wang Suiqiang. Finally, NetEase banned all the related accounts and put Wang Suiqiang onto their blocklist.

It is hard to say what will happen next in China's game account trading market. It is believed that soon, in 2022, every game account will require valid facial recognition and that it might significantly impact the account trading market or even put an end to it. Others believe that the market will persist because of the demand from a large number of players using it.