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Chinese games market to hit $3.8 billion by year's end

China's gaming population hits 58 million, as growth of over 25 per cent predicted

The Chinese market for videogames is to reach revenues of USD 3.8 billion (EUR 2.9 billion) by the end of 2009, according to the latest report from research firm Niko Partners.

Market revenues hit USD 2.75 billion (EUR 2.07 billion) in 2008, of which 77 per cent were online games. The reaming 23 per cent were classified as "advanced casual and casual games".

2008 also saw a 26 per cent increase in the gaming population, for a new total of 58 million. The country also plays host to 23 million PCs and 170,000 internet cafés. The report puts the compound annual growth rate for gamers at 17.7 per cent, with the total in 2012 expected to reach 119 million.

"Average spending per Chinese gamer is rising to the point where a 26 per cent increase in gamers resulted in 61 per cent more revenue for online games in 2008," said Lisa Cosmas Hanson, managing partner of Niko Partners.

China’s compound annual growth rate for the games market as a whole is estimated at 26.4 per cent over the next five years, with revenues predicted to reach USD 8.9 billion (EUR 6.7 billion) by 2013. Videogame consoles are officially illegal in China, although the report claims that black market import sales have continued to climb over the last year.

Another major recent trend has been an increase in demand for web-based games and games on social networking sites, which have attracted both casual and hardcore players.

"Niko’s conclusion is that China’s online market has plenty of room for growth in the next five years, and much of that growth will come from beyond the major metropolises where the number of Internet cafés, home PC penetration and Internet usage are all on the rise," said Cosmas.

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