Chinese Mobile Gaming Market to Benefit From Faster Replacement Rate of Smartphones

Technode (via Sinocism) posted an article stating that Chinese smartphone users changed their smartphones once every 29-months in 2011, but the period has been shorted to 18 months now. Over 20% of Chinese users will update for a newer phone within one year, while only 8.4% would do so within two years.

The Mobile eSports Market

DataEye, a Chinese data analytics firm that partnered with Niko Partners on our 2015 Chinese Mobile Gaming Report, released a report on the mobile eSports market. DataEye defines the eSports category to include MOBA and shooters, though we believe that eSports is really the professional gaming segment that has spawned from these genres and others (so, tournaments, live events, and more). The report says that the global eSports market is growing rapidly and China’s mobile eSports market is as well. In 2014 the number of eSports enthusiasts in the world reached 89 million, among which 45% are from China. The number of global eSports enthusiasts is estimated to reach 120 million in 2016, with eSports revenue reaching RMB 2.1 billion (up from RMB 1.23 billion in 2014). In China, there are currently more than 50 mobile eSports games in the market, published by companies including Tencent and Yingxiong Entertainment. Tencent dominates the market by publishing 20% of this segment.

Intriguing Acquisitions of CMGE & Shanda

Century Hua Tong (Shi Ji Hua Tong, 002602) acquired 100% of CMGE and finalized acquisition of 43% of Shanda. This is interesting as it is most likely intended to enable Century, which is a publicly traded auto parts supplier, to do a “back door listing” of A-shares for at least CMGE, if not for both of the game companies. The company paid 7 billion RMB for CMGE and 6.4 billion RMB for 43% of Shanda. Century previously purchased T2 Games, operator of “Street Basketball” in 2013 for 950 million RMB. It is worth noting that Century’s 2014 revenue was only 1.7 billion RMB, a profit of 230 million, yet the company was able to purchase the two companies for 10 billion RMB.

Crossfire Goes to Hollywood

In a first for a Korean-developed online game, Smilegate Group announced that it has partnered with Original Film to produce the big screen adaptation of its hit PC online game “Crossfire.” Crossfire generated $1.3 billion in global sales in 2014 with more than 6 million ACUs (which is the world’s largest). Original Film credits include the Mad Max series, I Am Legend, and Triplex.

Niko Partners on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter @nikochina to see these comments in real time as we publish them! Here are a few of our tweets from last week:
Century Huatong (002602), finalized 43% purchase of Shanda for 6.4B RMB & 100% of CMGE for 7B RMB. Looks like back-door listing in China.

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