The online gaming market in China is expected to grow by 28 percent this year with revenues reaching US$970 million according to new figures from iResearch. This would put China just ahead of Korea's US$960 million in online game revenues.
Much of this is attributed to the ever-growing Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) business with titles like Blizzard's World of Warcraft continuing to bring in new subscribers and Chinese gamers are increasingly playing casual titles online as well.
It's also interesting to note the rapid expansion of Internet use in China. Another report from eMarketer, China Online, delves into the incredible potential for the online market in the country. There were more than 111 million Internet users in China in 2005 and that number is expected to exceed 180 million by 2010.
However, there are still some barriers to the growth. While Chinese gamers are used to paying to play games at Internet cafes doing the same over the web at home and e-commerce in general has been slow to take off largely because of users' aversion to credit cards.
"In spite of a red-hot economy, growing e-commerce in China has proved to be slow going,” explains China Online author, James Belcher. “A huge target of Internet users alone is not enough. Because the use of credit cards is not widespread the simple act of paying for goods online is still a barrier e-tailers must overcome" he explains.
(China Daily June 6, 2006)