China’s gaming sector continued its boom in 2016, thanks to increasing internet penetration and its vast population. More than three-fourths of China-listed gaming firms reported gains for 2016, local media is reporting (in Chinese).

Among a total of 61 China-listed gaming firms, 52 have published their 2016 annual results as of April 9, with 47 of them making profits, according to data compiled by financial data provider East Money Information. In addition, 30 firms, or roughly 58% of the firms that issued results, have each grossed in more than RMB 100 million in net profit.

Perfect World (完美世界 in Chinese) and 37wan Network (三七互娱 in Chinese) were the top two performers, reaping RMB 1.17 billion and RMB 1.07 billion in net profit in 2016.

Despite their stunning performance, they are eclipsed by Hong Kong-listed internet giant Tencent and US-listed NetEase, which are the real heavyweights in the country’s gaming sector.

Due to its powerful distribution channels and vast user base, Tencent’s online game segment revenue rose 25% to hit RMB 70.84 billion, representing 47% of the internet behemoth’s 2016 revenue, according to the firm’s 2016 annual report. This makes Tencent the largest online game publisher in China.

Tencent is the operator behind the country’s top three highest-grossing PC client game titles, namely League of Legends (英雄联盟 in Chinese), Dungeon Fighter (地下城与勇士 in Chinese) and CrossFire (穿越火线 in Chinese).

While in the mobile gaming arena, Tencent’s mobile MOBA Honor of Kings (王者荣耀 in Chinese) has amassed 50 million daily active users since its launch in November 2015. The sought-after gaming title recently took in a whooping RMB 3 billion revenue every month for the firm, revealed some Tencent staff. (in Chinese).

As for its rival NetEase, it’s net revenue from online games reached roughly RMB 28 billion in 2016, up 61.6% from the previous year, according to its unaudited 2016 results (in Chinese).

Its popular gaming title Onmyoji (阴阳师 in Chinese), which made to the top ten outstanding games last year in China’s iOS app store, was rumored to bring in RMB 1 billion revenue every month (in Chinese).

Sheila Yu is a Shanghai-based technology writer. She brings readers the biggest news from Chinese language tech media. Reach her at

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