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Net income quadruples for online game giant
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Giant Interactive Group, a New York-listed Chinese on-line gaming giant, reported 1.136 billion yuan (155.8 million U.S. dollars) in net income for 2007, a 364.5 percent increase from the previous year.

The company issued its unaudited financial results for the full year and fourth quarter ended on December 31, saying on-line game net revenues for the fiscal year, mainly from the popular "ZT Online" game, stood at 1.52 billion yuan.

Net revenues for the fourth quarter were 434.8 million yuan, an increase of 7.3 percent from the previous quarter, and 151.8 percent from the corresponding period in 2006.

Giant Interactive launched its first game, "ZT Online", in January 2006. It is free to play but requires players to spend money to buy "equipment", including weapons and armor.

Shi Yuzhu, the company's chief executive officer and board chairman, said in the financial report that "2007 was a successful year for Giant, underscored by our IPO on the NYSE and significant top- and bottom-line growth".

"We forbid minors to play our games in order to fulfill our company's social responsibility, which at the same time, leads to a high average spending level per user."

A company spokeswoman said "ZT Online" witnessed a climax of 1.07 million players playing at the same time, a commercial success only "World of Warcraft" and "Fantasy Westward Journey" had achieved before.

According to CCID Consulting, a market consultant, the on-line game market in China grew by 74.6 percent year on year to 11.4 billion yuan in 2007. It is expected to reach 18.7 billion yuan in2008.

Giant Interactive Group shares closed at 11.33 U.S. dollars on the NYSE at the end of trading on Wednesday.

(Xinhua News Agency February 22, 2008)

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