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China's online market grows 40% in second quarter

Market expected to be worth $4 billion by year's end

Revenue from China's online games market was up 39.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2009 on the previous year. According to the latest data from research firm Analysys International, total revenue for the quarter reached CNY 6.18 billion (USD 905 million).

Emerging as the market leader with 20.2 per cent of the market and CNY 1.24 billion (USD 182 million) in revenues was Tencent Holdings, which operates China's largest online messaging platform and a portfolio of free-to-play games, reports Reuters.

Shanda Games took a similar sized chunk of the market with a 20 per cent share, and NetEase, which holds the license to operate World of Warcraft in China, took a 12.7 per cent share.

China's online games market is one of the fastest growing in the world and revenue is expected to rise between 30 and 50 per cent in 2009 compared to 2008, which would price it at CNY 24 - 27 billion (USD 3.5 - 4 billion) according to industry regulators.

Earlier this week, reports emerged that foreign individuals and companies are to be prohibited from investing in China-based online game operations. The country's General Administration of Press and Publication also plans to tighten regulations that govern online gaming by making it compulsory for companies to attain approval and a licence for their games prior to them being made available.

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