Thursday, February 24, 2005

China's Net Gamers: Ready to Rumble

From BusinessWeek: China's Net Gamers: Ready to Rumble

"On Feb. 18, the Shanghai gaming company (Shanda Interactive) revealed that it had quietly accumulated almost 20% of Sina's stock. That made Shanda the largest shareholder and has set the stage for something that China has rarely if ever seen: a hostile takeover battle. The battle could be all the more hostile because Shanda and Sina are competitors to win the allegiance of China's growing population of online gaming fans."

"The Chinese government, recognizing that online gaming has the potential to be a blockbuster business, is pushing several measures to support the industry. Beijing has launched an online-gaming project. In typical communist fashion, it's a five-year plan to publish 100 homegrown games."

"Another Shanghai-based operator, The9, recently went public on Nasdaq. And Sina has struck a partnership with NCsoft, the premier Korean gaming company. The increased competition means Shanda must find ways to grow and diversify. One way is to reduce reliance on PCs by making Shanda's games available on TV. Shanda has been working with Intel and graphics-chip designer ATI to develop a set-top box to do just that." Read more


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