China dominates the global esports market with 600 million gamers that mean China now has more gamers than the entire population of the US, Japan, Germany, France, and the UK combined.
China is the most important market in the world for PC online and mobile games and the Chinese Tencent is the largest game company in the world.
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China’s video gaming industry reached 68.5 billion yuan (US$10.4 billion) in revenue in the third quarter of 2020, a 15.72 percent gain in the same period a year ago.
The covid-19 pandemic boosted the videogame industry growth
The Chinese stranded at home due to the risk of contracting the coronavirus have caused internet traffic to explode. The health emergency in China has given a strong boost to the video game market.
The Chinese ministry of industry and information technology released data on mobile traffic for the 2020 Chinese New Year (24-31 January): 2,716 million Tb were consumed, + 36.4% on last year. On the eve and on New Year’s Day the increase was greater, respectively +42.1 and + 40.8%. Messages sent also exploded: 21.96 billion (+ 21.3% on an annual basis). Video game and video streaming companies have seen an increase in active users for the specialized portal Abacus.
Online gaming will probably be the biggest beneficiary from the economic disruption triggered by the coronavirus because in January most online video games saw an increase in playing time and purchases, a phenomenon that has been further fueled by the recent release of new titles.
The Chinese giant Tencent, the owner of WeChat, led the rankings of daily active users with the Honor of King’s game: during the New Year holidays, 100 million players were exceeded, compared to an average of 60-70 million.
The Chinese government imposed a limit on video gaming
In 2019 China has imposed a curfew on online video games. The Chinese government has introduced new restrictive measures on video games in an attempt to curb the addiction to video games, a problem that is becoming increasingly widespread in the country and which affects especially the youngest generations.
An important turnaround, the one promoted by the Chinese administration, especially in a country with the largest videogame market in the world, which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on all videogame companies operating on-site, starting with Tencent (a Chinese giant that boasts titles such as Fortnite, League of Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in its portfolio).
Curfew on mobile games for kids
According to the new provisions issued by the Beijing government, a curfew is imposed on all users under the age of 18, which prohibits playing online between 10 pm and 8 am from Monday to Friday, and with the ability to play for up to 90 minutes, which is extended to a maximum of three hours a day on holidays and weekends.
A tight on in-game purchases were also introduced. There are important limits based on the age group: players between the ages of 8 and 16 can top up a maximum of 200 yuan (just over 25 euros) per month on their own game accounts, which go up to 400 yuan (about 50 euros) per month for users between the ages of 16 and 18.
New trends in the Chinese video game sector
The mobile games segment of the market is expected to witness significant demand due to the country’s growing mobile gamers’ population. The majority of players are concentrated in tier-2 cities of China, such as Chengdu and Wuhan.
According to the Game Committee of the Publishers Association of China, the share of sales revenue of the mobile games in the gaming industry in China reached 68.5% in 2019, from 62.5% in 2018.
Cloud gaming is expected to be the fastest-growing game industry sector in China and has accumulated significant momentum. For instance, Cloud Union reportedly has a subscriber base of 20 million, which signifies cloud gaming’s bright prospects in the country.
Are you a foreign video game company? This is the best moment to enter the Chinese market.
How? Just follow some simple steps.
E-reputation is the first thing in the video gaming sector
In China, reputation is everything. If you want to have success, you must work to build a good image around your brand. In China, there is a unique digital ecosystem: this means that Google, Facebook, and Whatsapp do not work. You must be present on different social media in order to gain the attention of Chinese consumers.
It is of prime importance that you create your official website on Baidu, the Chinese most used search engine. To make it optimal create the content directly in Chinese (a simple translation may not be enough), host in China so that pages will load rapidly and make it interactive.
Use word of mouth to promote your video game
To build this reputation, you must also ensure that the word of mouth of your services is positive. Target the video game communities to convey your image. You will usually find these communities in various internet forums.
You 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.
WeChat is one of the best tools to be engaged with your video gamers’ community
WeChat is a super-app, similar to Whatsapp. It has 1, 08 billion active users every month, more than 1, 5 million active brands, more than 17 million official accounts, and it is used for 86% by people 18-40 years old.
People can use Wechat to pay, to book a holiday, to buy things, create “moments”, send messages (private or chat groups, texting or vocal messages), and use the Kol-programs (e-commerce, games, augmented reality).
WeChat is thus the best way to offer your brand visibility and create a community that will follow you. There are plenty of opportunities for you to develop WeChat games or small programs because as we said before Tencent, which owns WeChat, is the largest game company in the world.
Wechat Group Marketing
Use WeChat groups to distribute content to WeChat users interested in your type of product or service. Then, if one of the users recommends your brand, people will have more faith in the brand and will arouse the interest of other users. Therefore, Wechat groups can reach a larger community and have better visibility.
Wechat CRM to engage without effort
WeChat CRM is a great tool to communicate with your followers and can be used as a replacement for a newsletter. In China, people don’t read emails. A well-set Wechat CRM answers automatically any questions your followers may have and welcomes new ones.
WeChat official account gives game publishers the authority and legitimacy they need to be considered among other brands. WeChat will help your game brand to gain followers and to be actively engaged with them.
Make the most of Chinese forums like Baidu Tieba, Toutiao, and Zhihu
The power of community in China is very strong, that’s why you must take advantage of Chinese forums. Game publishers can use these forums to answer questions about their brands in an undercover way, but also to educate their followers on new games.
Let us see the most famous ones.
With nearly 300 million active users every day and 1 billion registered users, Baidu Tieba is one of the many services that make up the offer of Baidu, the Chinese search engine. In particular, Baidu Tieba focuses on the creation of forums around a specific keyword. If by typing in the search bar, no dedicated forum is found, it is created automatically after the query. Although it cannot be used for advertising, it is used by brands in various ways. In fact, it allows you to engage users on specific topics of interest, creating niche targets among users.
Videogame companies can use it to stimulate brand awareness and to receive useful feedback.
Toutiao is an application owned by ByteDance that acts as a news aggregator. With more than 200 million active users and content receiving 4.2 billion views every day, it is considered the # 1 platform for content delivery. Its particularity is to be integrated with artificial intelligence and machine learning software, which create a personalized newsfeed for each user. In this way, everyone sees what best suits the content they interacted with in the past.
Toutiao is therefore an excellent database of consumer information and one of the best Chinese apps for targeted advertising.
Zhihu is the most obvious platform for your social media marketing strategy in China. Not only being present on Baidu Zhihu will allow your videogame company to answer questions about your field but also to educate your target audience about your brands/products in an undercover way.
One piece of high-quality content on Zhihu is enough to yield long-tail results. It can be a powerful tool to establish long-term trust and, but the results won’t come immediately. Your investment will take results with time.
It is an excellent tool for game brands to increase conversion rates and to generate organic awareness about their brands.
Do you want to discuss your plan in the videogame sector in China? Contact Gma.
Gentlemen Marketing Agency is a digital marketing agency that is expert in helping foreign companies to establish or strengthen their position in China. We can help your brand increase sales in China, thanks to our services like:
- Baidu SEO&SEM
- Social Media
- KOL & Influencers
- E-commerce and cross-border e-commerce