Alibaba to IPO in US

Watch for this IPO – it will be very big, and very important. Alibaba is contending with Tencent and is related to and impacting Yahoo. Another IPO to watch in the US is Sina Weibo, China’s huge microblogging service

Niko Partners at GDC

Lots of Chinese and other Asian game companies are in attendance at GDC in San Francisco this week. Watch for our write up next week. If you are at the show and would like an appointment with Niko’s Michele Maguire Merrill, please email [email protected] .

MOC Crackdown on Mobile Games

It’s important to note the changes taking place in China’s regulations scene for mobile games now as the government is cracking down on apps, also including the highly popular WeChat. For mobile games, games cannot feature the word “casino” in their title or offer randomized raffles that encourage gamers to spend virtual currency in a chance to get physical goods. According to Marbridge Daily, 27 companies were hit in 2013 with this first round of legislation and 20 complied in making changes, while 7 have been hit with greater penalties due to not making reforms in time.

ChangYou Investing in Mobile

As we’ve mentioned previously, online game operators in China are very serious about the mobile space – ChangYou just announced investing $600 million in mobile games (called the CYOU Win Plan).

China Has 700M Active Smartphone Users

Niko’s partner Umeng, a major mobile analytics company in China acquired by Alibaba in November 2013, announced that China has 700 million active smartphones. 41% of smartphones sold in Q4 2013 were sold to first time buyers, and 59% were to people upgrading their phones or adding one more handset to their quiver.

Fun Box Console

Check out photos of ZTE and the9’s Fun Box, courtesy Tech in Asia. It looks very similar to the Ouya console in design, but with a Microsoft Xbox-esque controller. Impressively, there are already 40 games ready to go on launch, which may help the console take off initially.