As mobile connectivity surges in China, a handful of companies are battling it out for top spot in one of the country’s fastest growing revenue makers: mobile gaming.

Internet giant Tencent currently owns 14 of the top 30 most downloaded games in China, according to game-industry media company Gamegrapes, however other players including Netease and Chanyou are vying for the spot.

Internet giant Tencent has come out on top by successfully leveraging its triple-roles as a game developer, publisher and game platform using WeChat. NetEase listed four apps among total 30. 3D games such as MMORPGs are largely produced by Sohu’s online game subsidiary Changyou, developer of Tianlong, seizing users with games based on classic Chinese novels. 

Perfect World developer of classic IP games, acquired its rival Shanda Games last year, now boasting its 600 million users. Supercell’s Clash of Clans started from Helsinki, Finland is now a worldwide favorite topping several charts in China.

Other games such as One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes is gaining popularity for its familiarity, made from serialized comics from Chinese website YouYaoQi. Buying the license from a renowned animation or movie has found favor with game developers, since the people put great value on brands. 

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Smartphone OS market share in China shows that Android takes 72.8%, while iOS takes 25%, Window and Blackberry phones hardly show mere percentage, while in the U.S., Android takes 51.9% and iOS takes 42.8%. With a handful of app stores in the market like UC, 360, Baidu, Mi, Wandoujia, competition is hot in game distribution. Tencent’s Wechat proved mobile messaging platform a great money making platform for game distribution attracting revenue from its self-developed games and acquired game companies. To make a diversion, Wandoujia announced a new revenue share structure that benefit game developers last year. Recently, Xiaomi’s App Store MiUi reported its 100M userbase, which helped its third-party mobile games to reach high sales revenue last year. 

To foreign companies, GameGrapes’s partner, Tianxiao Shi highlighted on localizing the games apart from translation. “Foreign companies should understand China’s users when localizing the product. You need to analyze the trend, discover why people like certain game, and try to adapt to your games to cater to China users. For example, South Korea’s games are strong on design capacity, so they should focus more on the story. It’s better to provide free games since Chinese users are not yet used to paying model.” Shi pointed out, adding that “It’s important for foreign companies to find a good publisher to launch their product. “

Shi released information on the state of the gaming industry on the Chinese game market at a conference held in Seoul co-hosted by Money Today and AppAnnie. 

Image Credit: GameGrapes

Eva Yoo is Shanghai-based tech writer. Reach her at

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