Last year Chinese game market size reached RMB 51.8 billion, according to a recent report by iResearch, a Beijing-based market researcher. With the rate of increase slowing down to less than 20%, the market growth has started to level off.

We also spotted some other interesting findings from the report; keep reading to find out more.

The first two charts (pictured below) elucidate online gaming market trend from 2007 to 2016 in general. As shown, overall company revenues are rising slightly quicker than the whole paid game market in China, mainly due to the extra income companies pulled in from cooperation platforms or overseas markets.

In terms of market share, client games are no longer the lonely players as it is since 2007, a more diversified market took its shape over the past decade with new game genres like social games, web games and mobile games flooded into the market. In 2012, web games grabbed 12.6% of China’s game market, which could be seen as a significant point. iResearch predicted that web games will keep this momentum and remain a 15% share in 2013. The current marketing practice and channels hinder web game market from moving further, claimed the report.

Chart1: Chinese Online Gaming Market Scale 2007-2016

Yellow: paid market scale (in 100 million)

Green: company revenue (in 100 million)

Chart2: Market Shares of the Paid Market 2007-2016

Green: client games(%) Red: platform(%) Yellow: web games(%) Blue: social games(%)

The third chart compared ad expenditure of client games and web games over the past few years. Client games threw away RMB 560 million in 2008 in marketing, while web games spent only 30 million for the same purpose in that year. But that’s probably because web game is still in its infancy stage, cause in 2012, web game bleed RMB 370 million in marketing while for client games the figure shrank to RMB 460 million.

iResearch explained that the increasing players of web games might have accounted for the rising costs of marketing in this area.

Chart3: Ad expenditure on Client Games And Web Games 2008-2012

Green: client games(in 100 million) Yellow: web games(in 100 million)

Paid market for mobile games reached RMB 5.21billion last year, in which smartphone games cover 12.5% market share. The growing penetration rate of smart phones in China may have paved the way for the popularity of smartphone games. iResearch believes that the transplant of massively multiplayer online games onto mobile platform has proved its potential, which could lead the whole subsegment to keep growing.

动点科技驻湾区记者. Charlie is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco and Hong Kong who calls herself the undefeated caffeine champion. You can reach her at charlie.sheng (at)

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