China may still be lagging behind the US and Japan in many industries – but it is beating both countries in gaming.
According to newzoo.com, the Chinese gaming industry had $22.22 billion in revenues in 2015, topping the list of 100 leading game countries. The nation is followed by the US, with $21.94 billion; and Japan, with $12.36 billion.
There are two reasons for this.
First, most of the games are played on line, and China is the world's largest Internet market with close to 700 million users, as of 2015.
Second, companies like Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group have been leveraging their strong on-line presence by developing and distributing their own games, often beating foreign titles.
In November, Tencent's game King of Glory debuted at #1 in newzoo's list of Top 20 Grossing Android Games in China. The company had three titles in the top five games by revenue.
Tencent has been trying to replicate its success at home in overseas markets. Last April the company purchased a stake in San Francisco-based Glu Mobile Inc., a mobile games publisher. And it will be soon market one of its games, "WeFire," in the US market.
Tencent has also forged deals with Japan's Aiming Inc., Activision Blizzard, Korea's 4:33 Creative Lab, and Epic Games.
While it is still too early to determine whether Chinese games will pass the test of the global market, American, Japanese, and Korean game makers should take notice.