#KnowYourMarket: Mobile Gaming in China

#KnowYourMarket: Mobile Gaming in China

We’re closing out our #KnowYourMarket series, where we explored many countries and their mobile gaming community, their significant growth, and unique cultural distinctions so game developers get at least a basic understanding of the mobile gaming market in a diverse space like Asia. In knowing this, game developers and publishers will be more equipped and attuned to making calculated decisions when interacting with the various demographics that will discover their games.

For the past few blogs in this series, we covered the mobile gaming market in Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and Japan. Today, we close out with what is considered the “Gaming Industry Capital of the World”, China!

Located in the easternmost part of the Asian landmass (discounting the island nations to the southeast and east), China is the most populous country in the world, with a population of over 1.4 billion people. It is located in Eastern Asia and is the third largest country by land area, covering approximately 9.6 million square kilometers. It consists of 33 administrative units: 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 special administrative regions. It is the world’s second-largest economy and a major producer and exporter of goods, ranging from electronics and clothing to steel and automobiles. Its capital city of Beijing acts as the cultural, economic and communications center of the country, while Shanghai is the industrial hub city. Its official language is Mandarin Chinese, which is the second most widely spoken language in the world.

The Chinese Gaming Market

China is currently the largest gaming market in the world, possibly owing largely to its incredibly high population. In 2021, the number of gamers was calculated to be 706 million, a number that has been predicted to grow up to 730 million in 2026. The Chinese government had implemented several regulations on gameplay and game licensing, which somewhat slowed down the growth of gaming in the country, but these regulations were partially lifted in April 2022. The lifting of the regulations allowed gaming license holders to earn revenue from their games, which has resulted in tremendous success since China is also the largest gaming market in terms of revenue earned per user.

As the leading market worldwide in video games, China’s been able to take advantage of the online gaming industry, contributing to its growth over the years. China has been attracting many worldwide gaming companies that want to expand their activities in one of the most digitalized countries in the world.

Their gaming market is divided into three types: Mobile Gaming, Client Gaming, and Web Gaming. Mobile gaming holds the largest revenue due to the rapid development of China’s internet access through Wi-Fi networks along with the widespread adoption of 4G, 5G service, which is quickly bringing China to the top of global internet access rates.

Mobile Gaming in China

The mobile gaming market in China has been on a steady rise since the 2010s, with the spread of smartphones among the population. As of 2021, the number of smartphone gamers in the country came up to 682 million, which is a whopping 96% of gamers. The average Chinese citizen is finding more utility in the smartphone as a source of entertainment because of its accessibility and ease of use. Moreover, companies have begun to enter the mobile gaming market with more diverse and engaging content, placing the smartphone in direct competition with gaming consoles.

The Chinese gaming market is set apart by its high female engagement. Women tend to gravitate towards genres like puzzles and casual gaming but also participate in genres that are traditionally thought to be “masculine” as well. Men and women are neck and neck in gaming, with women forming 48% of the gaming population. A staggering 97% of the citizens aged between 18 and 24 are gamers, while for those aged between 25 and 34, the percentage is 90%. It has been noted that 70% of the overall gaming industry’s revenue comes from mobile gamers alone.

Although it is impossible for foreign game developers to publish their games directly in the Chinese market, they do have the option to publish through a local developer like Tencent. This does give local game developers an edge over foreign ones, but foreign players such as EA are seeing significant success. 

And that concludes our #KnowYourMarket series! Thank you for coming along with our journey, and we hope you’ve taken valuable insights about the wonderful mobile gaming communities around Asia!

Are you a Chinese mobile game developer? Tell us about your experience developing your game in your market! Use #KnowYourMarketSlab in social media or tag slab in your post! We’d love to know your story working in one of the largest gaming markets in the world.

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Mars Zarate

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