The massive growth of the online games market in China looks set to propel the country past South Korea in the market size stakes this year, which would make it into the second largest online games market in the world.
That's according to a new report issued by market research firm iResearch, which expects to see the online gaming market grow by 28 per cent in China in the coming year, bringing it to annual revenues of $970 million.
That growth isn't far out of line with the massive year on year growth that has been witnessed in online gaming markets in China to date - with the country rapidly being recognised as a vital market by operators of massively multiplayer games including Blizzard, whose World of Warcraft product is operated in the region by local firm The9.
At present, South Korea - whose population of around 49 million is dwarfed by China's 1.3 billion - is the second largest market for online games, and iResearch expects that it will remain a significant force in the world market, with revenues of around $960 million in the coming year.
Although China has grown rapidly as a market for online games, the country has had less success with shipping its internally developed products abroad; while Korean firms such as NCsoft and Webzen have made major inroads in North America and Europe, top Chinese companies such as Shanda remain largely focused on their home market.