ChinaJoy's triumphant return draws fans, fuels market optimism

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 4, 2023
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ChinaJoy, Asia's biggest digital entertainment event, returned after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, held in Shanghai from July 28 to 31, attracted nearly 500 enterprises from 22 countries and regions and drew over 338,000 visitors.

Crowds visit ChinaJoy 2023 in Shanghai, July 28, 2023. [Photo/]

Also known as the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference, the event showcased video games, online games, and other digital technology innovations. This year, a dedicated exhibition area was introduced for digital technology innovation, displaying products related to artificial intelligence, 5G, Web 3.0, the metaverse, virtual humans, and blockchain. Among the featured innovations, Shengqu Games unveiled AI Galaxy, a "digital therapy" product designed to rehabilitate autistic children.

To stay up-to-date with the latest trends, ChinaJoy set up various thematic exhibition areas focusing on e-sports, VR/AR, science fiction, trendy lifestyles, intelligent mobility, designer toys, garage kits and figure models. Visitors were invited to explore a wide range of merchandise inspired by popular domestic and international franchises related to games, comic books, movies and animations. The diverse selection of items included toys, figurines and statues.

A visitor takes a picture of a Harry Potter figure at the InArt booth at ChinaJoy in Shanghai on July 29, 2023. [Photo/]

"We view ChinaJoy as an important bridge for communicating with our customers, enabling us to listen more attentively to their needs and preferences," a spokesperson from InArt said in an interview with InArt, a brand label under Queen Studios, specializes in creating collectible figures based on iconic franchises. At the event, they presented figures from popular franchises like "Batman," "Superman," "Harry Potter," "The Lord of the Rings," and "Dune." Additionally, they unveiled a new figure of legendary pop star Michael Jackson.

Their participation in the expo marked a first for the company in a domestic in-person event since its founding in 2021. The spokesperson said that it provided them with a great platform to learn from other brands, while praising the organizers for their considerate planning and efficient management, benefiting both exhibitors and visitors.

Marking its 20th anniversary, this year's ChinaJoy filled more than 120,000 square meters of exhibition space at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC). The event attracted large crowds, reflecting the substantial appeal of the Chinese market for companies in the digital entertainment and gaming industry. Geeks, gamers, toy enthusiasts, and cosplayers were a common sight, posing and snapping pictures.

A report unveiled at the China Digital Entertainment Congress (CDEC) on July 27 revealed that the number of gamers in China hit a record 668 million in the first half of 2023, representing a 0.35% year-on-year increase.

At the event, Zhang Wei, vice president of Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group, stressed that games are a cultural expression driven by technology. He highlighted how games continually push the boundaries of existing scenarios and imaginative spaces, broadening the frontiers of value creation.

Staff members demonstrate the Vive XR Elite at the booth at ChinaJoy 2023 in Shanghai, July 28, 2023. [Photo/]

A report reviewing the Chinese gaming industry in the year's first half revealed a 2.25% year-on-year decline in actual sales revenue for domestically developed games, amounting to 121.784 billion yuan ($17 billion). However, actual sales revenue from domestically developed games in overseas markets has grown nearly 30-fold in the past decade. Therefore, according to statistics from this year's ChinaJoy, there were over 40 sideline activities, with more than half focused on "going global" or embracing "globalization." It's worth noting that while Southeast Asia was the primary target for Chinese game companies expanding internationally in previous years, the Middle East has emerged as the hottest market for game expansion this year.

The event also attracted over 100 foreign companies from various nations, such as the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, France, the United States, Japan, Singapore, Israel, and India. Foreign companies comprised around one-third of all exhibitors. Renowned industry leaders, including Qualcomm, Sony, Bandai Namco, AMD, and Samsung, displayed their latest digital entertainment products at the event, featuring everything from e-sports games to virtual reality (VR) experiences.

Additionally, many booths illustrated the integration of games with traditional culture, healthcare, education, and other fields, underscoring gaming's positive value.

"This year's ChinaJoy was, in my opinion, one of the best shows ever! The fans, finally coming back after COVID-19, filled with dreams and excitement; we could feel the energy in the air. Roaring through the masses to see what new games or products would amaze them… And a revelation… finally, great toy sculpture makers were part of the show as well!" exclaimed Hugues Martel, founder and CEO of PureArts, an international collectible figurine company.

Having worked in roles such as developer, creative director, art director, and more for many famous game franchises like "Assassin's Creed," "Splinter Cell," "Prince of Persia," and "League of Legends," Martel has long recognized China's market potential in both games and high-quality toys.

Hugues Martel, founder and CEO of PureArts, poses with a cosplayer at the company's booth at ChinaJoy 2023 in Shanghai, July 29, 2023. [Photo/]

"So, for PureArts, it was the best opportunity to show our latest videogame pieces, and the reactions were priceless! We love you, gamers!" he added.

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