Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of World of Warcraft, ran into a series of unfortunate things in China in the last few years.
It decided to change its Chinese operator from The9 to Netease 2 years ago. Although it had the support of the Ministry of Culture, it got another government authority, GAPP, mad. GAPP banned World of Warcraft from charging its users for quite some time. And then, WOW’s expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, was delayed again and again. The whole incident was finally out of the picture, when GAPP granted the necessary licenses this summer.
But recently, another incident has hit Blizzard. Local media said Blizzard’s China office leaked sensitive information about the company’s operation. Its product promotion plan, global user number, marketing plan, etc. was posted on the internet. (Here is the article about it: http://tech.sina.com.cn/i/2010-12-03/01414937053.shtml) The company’s China head had left his position. And, Blizzard put a former Nokia executive in charge.
First of all, I wonder whether it is true. Just like a lot of things you read over the internet, not everything is right. And the local media which wrote the article said it could not find the alleged Blizzard information on the net.
But, if it is, Blizzard will not be alone. Industry espionage is serious in China. I have a friend who works in one of the leading internet company in China. He said a person approached him for a very well-paid job offer. They had a few rounds of conversations, and during the process, my friend felt the person’s main objective was to get inside information about my friend’s company. In fact, one way to tell about your competitor’s situation is from job interviews, said a venture capitalist.