Navigating the Chinese Mobile Game Market

The Chinese mobile game market has been evolving and growing exponentially, becoming the fastest growing market in the world. The Chinese mobile game industry is currently worth approximately $2.9B, second only to the USA at $3.2B. By 2015, the Chinese market is expected to exceed the worth of $3B. With a huge population on mobile phones interested in gaming, China seems like a logical next step for many games, but the market is a siren: it looks enticing, hiding the cacophony of roadblocks behind the allure of reach. The truth is, mobile games success in China requires heavy engagement at every step of the value chain. Many studios struggle to cater to Chinese gamers, not only because of cultural differences in gaming preferences, but also because a fragmented enough Android market that makes full market penetration difficult.

Over the past year, China’s mobile game market grew a staggering 280%, casting a shadow over the US’ growth rate of 81%. The growth spurt is no surprise – China has 600 million smartphone users, with 92% of all people aged 18 to 30 using them. Tencent, China’s largest internet company, launched a game center across their popular social platforms WeChat and QQ, gaining 570m users in 3 months. In an ecosystem that has such high mobile phone usage and the longest average commute times (Beijing being the worst offender at 97 minutes average), it makes sense that many consumers will turn to mobile gaming to pass the time. Nowadays, Chinese gamers spend an average of 32 minutes daily playing games. According to TalkingData, a Chinese data analysis firm, 15% of all Chinese mobile gamers spend more than 2 hours on games daily, and 48% spend half an hour to two hours.  But what to do with such a large user base? What kind of game would interest the largest chunk of such a huge demographic?

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