Now it’s the 5th year for Popcap, the creator of the very popular mobile game Plants vs. Zombies (PvZ) since it entered China back in 2008.  ZHOU Yun, the director of business development of Popcap China, recently gave a speech in a developer forum hosted by TechNode at Macworld Asia, sharing this foreign company’s experience in Chinese market.

We all know in China people does not want to pay for download, which happens to Popcap too. At the early time, Popcap set the price for one of its games RMB88 which was already cheaper than the price set in the global market. “Sadly we only managed to sell it to less than 100 users, while later this game has >100millions players.” Yun said.

Yun cited a comment by his boss, James Gwertzman, General Manager of Popcap Asia

In China, anything is possible, because the market is massive, growing very fast, and it is weird too.

Talking about the success of Popcap in China market, Yun thinks Localisation of the product is the key. “We had one rule: what happens here should NOT impact on company’s strategy for rest of world. Our team in China only focus on Chinese market and Asian market because we believe the culture in Asian countries/regions are quite similar.” Yun said. ” For China, we not only translated the interface of PvZ into Chinese but also introduced Chinese elements such as Great Wall into the game. The result is that it only took 3 days, PvZ (Chinese) became the No.1 downloaded games in China.”

Now Popcap China has grown to a team with ~70 staff. The company is targeting at different platform in China. It worked with local social platform such as RenRen to launch its social version of PvZ in 2011; In May 2012, Popcap China partners with Metersbonwe and started merchandising in China, and the licenced products include books, t-shirts, toys etc.

We even have more revenue from merchandising than from gaming.

By end of 2011, 12% company’s revenue is from Asia. “We are expecting that in 3-4 years, 1/3 of our revenue will be from Asia, and  surely China is the most important market here.” Yun told the public.

You may earn little directly from gaming, but as long as you can build up millions of fans in China, merchandising could be a good revenue source too. Another famous mobile game developer, Rovio (Angry Birds) obviously is following the same strategy.

Gang Lu

Dr. Gang Lu - Founder of TechNode. He's a Blogger, a Geek, a PhD and a Speaker, with passion in Tech, Internet and R'N'R.

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