SHANGHAI: The Chinese mobile games market is expected to grow to $3bn by the end of this year, putting it on track to overtake the US as the world's largest, new research has forecast.
Overall spending in the US will continue to grow to $3.2bn, but the rate of growth will be slower than in China as the US market approaches saturation point, according to SuperData Research, the New-York based digital measurement company.
It said this could explain why a major publisher like King, the British maker of Candy Crush Saga, last month announced a partnership with Chinese tech giant Tencent to release the game in the country.
Joost van Dreunen, CEO of SuperData, told China Daily that the "surprising" rate of growth in China is exciting for publishers because it's similar to how fast the US market grew a few years ago, but there are far more potential customers.
He said that to be successful in the growing global market, which SuperData estimates will be worth more than $20bn by the end of this year, publishers must ensure their products meet the needs of their consumers.
"Publishers must tailor their games to suit local markets," he said. "This process of localisation has become increasingly important in the games industry, and directly affects a game's ability to persuade players to spend money."
"What works well in the US may not work well in China, and vice versa," he added.
China lifted its 14-year ban on the sale of foreign game consoles earlier this year, which opened the door for major players like Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony to enter the market.
Only last month, Microsoft announced that it would launch its Xbox One in China this September in partnership with BesTV New Media, a subsidiary of Shanghai Media Group.
Enwei Xie, general manager of Xbox China, said at the time that "the opportunities are endless for creators to unleash their imaginations for games, online education and fitness experiences for China and beyond."
Data sourced from SuperData Research, China Daily, Reuters, Microsoft; additional content by Warc staff