Chinese gaming sector grows

25 January 2011

BEIJING: Domestic producers hold a majority share of the rapidly-growing Chinese online games market, according to the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

The regulator announced game sales of 32.37bn yuan ($4.9bn, €3.6bn) for 2010, with 60% of sales revenues derived from Chinese-made games.

This is the fifth year in a row in which the nation's own gaming firms captured more than 50% of the market.

Domestic firms were more productive than ever, with 356 games released last year, compared to 311 in 2009.

Producers' monetisation strategies - which can include encouraging users to buy virtual goods or selling subscriptions - are proving successful, with 43 million of China's 76 million gamers playing fee-based games in 2010.

Chinese gaming companies are also selling their products overseas in greater numbers, with international revenues growing 111% last year to reach $230m.

In all, 82 original games were sold to users in 40 foreign countries.

But industry experts also warned that the rapid pace of growth would not be sustained if producers did not innovate more.

Future growth could come from developing more complex titles such as those offering extended multiplayer role-playing and games embedded within social media platforms.

China Daily reports GAPP director Sun Shoushan as saying: "The industry maintained good momentum last year, even with a worldwide economic slowdown ... but the lack of innovation has become a problem that may hinder its development."

Liu Wei, Giant Interactive president, added: "Of the hundreds of online games produced every year, most are repeats and copies of each other."

Data sourced from Xinhua/China Daily; additional content by Warc staff