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China’s gaming market was worth US$9.7bn in 2012

Gaming in China is getting to be seriously big business. In fact, it brought in an estimated US$9.7-billion in revenue last year, rising 35.1% year-on-year.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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That’s according to TechWeb (translated), which cites a recent China Game Industry Report. The report includes actual sales estimates, as well as online revenue and income from web, mobile, and social networks.

Interestingly actual online game sales accounted for around 94.5% of that US$9.7-billion while 5.4% came from mobile game sales. Dedicated gaming services meanwhile accounted for just 01.% of sales. As cheap smartphones flood the Chinese market though, the number of mobile games bought is likely to skyrocket.

The report also projects that by 2017, the country’s gaming market will be worth US$21.7-billion at a projected annual growth rate of 12.4%.

China’s big online players have been working hard at cracking the gaming sector in recent times. In August last year for instance, Tencent coughed up US$27-million for Singapore gaming company Level Up.

The acquisition added to the company’s arsenal of gaming properties, which includes a minority stake in Epic Games, the studio behind titles including Gears of War and Infinity Blade, for instance. Its own mobile gaming platform Mobile QQ Game Hall meanwhile hit the 200-million user mark earlier this year, with peaks of to 8.8-million people playing simultaneously. In July it announced a partnership with Activision Blizzard, granting it the exclusive rights to distribute Call of Duty Online in the country.

Arch-rival Sina meanwhile has long had a dedicated gaming service, although it plays more in the casual gaming market than Tencent does.