The Video game industry in China: a new Eldorado!

When thinking about China, here comes two big stereotypes:

  1. It’s full of geeks on their computer games
  2. Everything is pirated or copied over there

Well well well, that’s a double No!

China is many things, but be sure that it’s not a country of a geek on their computer. Now it’s more like a geek on their smartphone. In the same way, saying that everything is copied in china is so 1990… Chinese people are big fans of video games, but not all of them could be described as Tech savvy or super pirate. Actually, most of them have no clue how to do it. And it’s the same for every country, I guess.

So, let’s put an end on Hollywood propaganda, and let’s try to know more about the video games market in China.


Top 5 biggest market of the video game industry:

  • China: 23,198 million USD
  • The USA: 17,832 million USD
  • Japan: 11,626 million USD
  • United Kingdom: 3,189 million USD
  • South-Korea: 3,034 million USD


Useful facts:

  • China GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) increased from $20 trillion in 2015 to over $23 trillion in 2017
  • In 2018, the purchasing power per inhabitant increase of +6.6%
  • Rise of the minimum income per inhabitant
  • Development of the middle class: 350-400 million peoples (corresponding to six times the population of France and all population of the USA)
  • The largest population in the world with 1.4 billion netizens
  • 0-24 years old represents 29.49% of China’s population
  • 25-54 years old represents 46.3% of China’s population


What about the Video Game Industry?

  • Revenue in 2019: 23,198 million USD
  • Revenue is expected to reach 26,350 million USD by 2023
  • The market’s largest segment is Mobile Game, with a market volume of 21,443 million USD in 2019
  • 524,7 million users in 2019
  • The average revenue per user: 48.85 USD
  • The mobile game segment is expected to reach 496.8 million users by 2023

Users per segment of the industry:

  • Mobile game: 438.94 million
  • Download Games: 263.79 million
  • Online Gales: 195.06 million
  • Gaming Networks: 10.37 million


How old are video games player in China?

  • 18-24yo: 17.82%
  • 25-34yo: 36.63%
  • 35-44yo: 24.75%
  • 45-54yo: 17.82%
  • 55-64yo: 2.97%


Video Games in China.

When we think about video games, for most people the first thing coming to mind are physicals video games such as Xbox or PlayStation, Nintendo, etc.

But in China, most money in this industry is made through internet games and mobile app. Here are some highlights of the market. Important points to consider if willing to launch your games on the Chinese market.

  • First, you have to know that China is currently the mobile-first country constituting, therefore, the world’s largest mobile subscriber base. Elements that led the country to witness an important growth of mobile games and e-sport.
  • China has seen a rise in mini-games through apps like WeChat, which can be played without installing other apps. Very easy to play, it turned out to be part of a social element that attracted many followers across the country.
  • Mobile gaming is soon to be outpacing PC and console gaming. This segment is now in huge demand, while considering its main factors such as faster internet speeds, and soon 5G networks.
  • More and more foreign companies try to enter the Chinese gaming industry. Either by themselves or by acquiring shares in other companies, or even through sponsoring professional gamers team.
  • Video games are now considered as a real sport in China: the e-sport. Very competitive, it attracts a lot of players from all around the country. And for any young kids now, their dream is to make their hobby their future jackpot.

An opportunity for brands to level up?

They love video games so much that they get sick of it.

Do you know that china is one of the rare countries that has established a law to protect the teenager from video games addiction?

Indeed, from now on every kid under 18 won’t be able to play more than 90 minutes a day, and nothing allowed between 10pm to 8am. During the holiday, game sessions may be extended to 3h a day. That sounds pretty tough and be sure that many cried for this… who wouldn’t?

But this kind of new rules is here to protect them. Indeed, many cases of “physical and mental health” issues got reported, and video game addiction turned out to be close to a new plague.

Teenagers could play all night long and even skype school day just to play a bit more. Some of them stopped feeding themselves or on the opposite just eat junk food as it doesn’t require to leave the table. In extreme cases, some kids were ready to spend a hundred thousand of yuan of their rich parents just to get the new special features and upgrade their favorite characters.

In 2015, 500 million Chinese citizens suffered from visual impairment due to mobile phones and online games.


Why is mobile gaming important?


Consider that smartphones turn out to be more and more affordable while providing high-performances. Also, most of the game publishers made it up in a way that games can be easily converted from PC/console games to mobile screens.


The Chinese giant “Tencent” currently own one of the largest gaming company in the world and is by itself mostly present on mobile games. They plan to make WeChat the most popular gaming platform in China. They currently have a portfolio of over 147 mobile games, and the most popular of them can reach over 200 million players.


A new age is coming: Cloud gaming & 5G.

Technological giants in China are already testing some cloud gaming platforms, as a future competitive advantage and the very next future of the gaming industry.

It will allow users to stream their games on their smartphones of gaming console instead of downloading it.

A new system that will overcome different issues due to memory limitations, graphics, and insufficient processor. The purpose of cloud gaming is simple: an incredible gaming experience!

Moreover, cloud gaming will be combined with a 5G network for more connections in the country whatever the area is, which should definitely lead to market growth.

Some giants already showcased their cloud gaming services such as:

  • Google’s Stadia
  • Microsoft’s xCloud
  • Tencent’s Start


What about the competition?

It’s a highly competitive market with the presence of both small and big players. Of course, the market is ruled by the main companies of the industry which constantly push the market to evolve toward product innovation and services innovation.

Big companies do not hesitate to perform mergers and acquisitions for the purpose of market domination.


Smart advice?

Get on the list and try your best to get market share in this amazing industry in China. It’s like a golden egg. Get on it, protect it, earn from it.

And to do so here’s a little secret:

  • E-reputation
  • Word of mouth


In China, reputation can make the difference between success and failure. People want to see an online reaction to your product before buying it, and they want to give their own reaction after buying it. That’s a principle and It’s very important for them.

You’ll have to make your brand as recognizable as possible while communicating with your target audience and uploading content on social media. Pictures, reactions, KOL, video trailer, etc. Everything that could convince gamers to purchase their product. Media buying is an option, but organic results are always more effective on the long term.

But forget about Facebook or Google. You’ll just waste your time and money. These platforms are forbidden in China. Therefore, you’ll need Baidu, WeChat, and Weibo instead.

  • WeChat is incredibly popular to engage and attract Chinese. It’ll offer you many great tools and payment facilities. Plus, as we saw earlier there is plenty of opportunities for you to develop WeChat games or small programs.
  • Weibo will be perfect for your visibility as well and give a chance to the consumer to know who you are. It allows you to spread content to hundreds of millions of people. Perfect for KOL.

Regarding your website, it has to be in accordance with Chinese standards and design with full translation in Mandarin. Consider that its credibility relies on its accessibility. If you’re a top game producer, then you should be able to make up a very professional website with high loading speed.


For more information about promoting your video games in China


If you want to integrate the Chinese video game industry, we can help you.

  • We know how to do
  • And we do it good…

Do not hesitate to contact us and introduce your project. We can offer you a 30min free call with top marketers in Shanghai.

We are GMA.

  • Marketing Digital Expert
  • Professional in the Chinese market
  • We know your target: Chinese Middle Class

Designing the right strategy is the key to success in China.



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