SoarDragon exports Chinese mobile games to Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East. Co-founder Ma Zhijun, an Arabic-speaking Muslim, was one of the first language specialists hired by veteran Chinese gaming company NetDragon to explore overseas markets for its client games, with Mr. Ma’s team successfully exporting several to the Middle East.
Smartphone games swelled in popularity in China around 2012 and developers began to see meaningful revenues in 2013. SoarDragon was founded at that time, localizing mobile games licensed from Chinese developers and publishing them on iOS and Android platforms. Apart from language translation, religious customs and culture must be taken into consideration in terms of localization. The company set up offices in Dubai, the UAE and Egypt in May 2014.
ELING sources mobile games in China, adapts them and then publishes hem in Southeast Asia. Both ELING team and its chief investor formerly worked at 4399, one of the largest small game platforms.
Unlike Arabic-speaking audience, who know very little about Chinese culture, many in Southeast Asia are familiar with the culture and myths on which many Chinese games are premised.
Thailand is crowded with Chinese mobile game publishers and game-related services, as users embrace the country’s mobile games and regularly purchase in-game items. The average spend per user is lower in Thailand and many other Southeast Asian markets, however, than in China.
SoarDragon believes it is now one of the leading mobile gaming publishers in Arabic-speaking markets, and hopes to become one of the largest tech companies in the Middle East. With its game publishing business doing well, the company has begun expanding, launching its first in-house developed mobile game and a number of utility apps.
Like many other Chinese tech companies, SoarDragon wants to gain a large user base with free apps (providing wallpapers, battery savers, memory optimization, etc) then channel users to its games. Not only have many Chinese internet companies succeed with the strategy in China market, several are following it overseas.
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)