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Shanghai Surprise

China's government and trade association discuss why there's all to play for in this ballooning region

As Asia's largest games and digital expo, last month's ChinaJoy event boasted over 150 exhibitors from fifteen countries, pulling in a trade crowd of over 10,000 visitors. At the annual event GamesIndustry.biz met with Zhihai Han, secretary general of ChinaJoy and deputy secretary general of General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP), the Chinese government agency responsible for regulating the games industry in China, and Haoxia Ming, managing director of Shanghai Multimedia Industry Association (SMIA), China's largest games industry association to discuss another successful year, the regional industry as a whole, future trends in China and why it's long since shrugged off the perception that it's just a place for the West to send its outsourcing.

GamesIndustry.biz Can you begin with a little bit about this year's ChinaJoy and China Game Outsourcing Conference (CGOC). What's the significance of these events for the Chinese games industry and overseas companies?
Zhihai Han

Based on what we have achieved, this year's ChinaJoy had a 9000 square meter business to business expo with over 150 exhibitors from fifteen countries, and attracted over 10,000 trade visitors from around the world. According to our exhibitors, business deals onsite reached a total contractual value of $98.56 million. 1100 business meetings were arranged through our online business matching system. 95 per cent of this year's exhibitors have confirmed their participation in 2012.

ChinaJoy also provides a venue for international copyright trade and information exchange among Chinese game companies and overseas publishers, developers, middleware providers and IP holders.

Haoxia Ming

The China Game Outsourcing Conference has three characteristics: firstly, CGOC is the only game outsourcing conference supported by the ChinaJoy organisers; a platform with prestigious brand and reputation, as well as coverage by media around the world.

Secondly, CGOC is the only game outsourcing conference held during the ChinaJoy exposition. This allows those who come for CGOC to participate in the exciting events of ChinaJoy as well, and makes attending COGC highly cost-effective.

Professionals in the social networks are full of confidence; but if we talk about making a profit, game companies are still more interested in doing web games

Zhihai Han, GAPP

Thirdly, CGOC is the only game outsourcing conference assembling the top players in game operation and contracting in China. A total contractual value of hundreds of millions of renminbi is made at COGC each year, and provides a valuable business opportunity for our participants.

GamesIndustry.biz In what other ways are you active in promoting the industry in China and overseas?
Zhihai Han

We would very much like to partner with overseas media and industry associations to spread information about our event and news updates about the Chinese games industry around the world. We are certain that both overseas game companies and domestic ones would benefit greatly from the real-time information exchange such a media channel could provide.

Haoxia Ming

A non-profit social community, the Shanghai Multimedia Industry Association has long been dedicated to the development of the multimedia industry, of which the games industry is our most important component. SMIA has organised our members' participation in game exhibitions worldwide and has arranged fruitful commercial talks with our hosts. In addition, SMIA emphasises localised development by promoting the exchange and cooperation of game enterprises domestically and abroad through various kinds of game-related activities - large and small, doing its part to rejuvenate and develop the games industry in China.

GamesIndustry.biz TF: Zhihai, you've attracted quite a few major overseas speakers to ChinaJoy this year, including Michael Ryder from Blizzard and Ian Livingstone from Square Enix, as well as exhibitors like Epic and NVIDIA. What's drawing the increased interest from abroad?
Zhihai Han

The fast growth of Chinese game companies, as well as their huge and multifaceted needs in conjunction with global business expansion. Overseas publishers, developers and middleware suppliers have discovered the business demands of China-based IPO clients, and the need for their products and services from the other hundreds of thousands game studios and operators in China as well. It is the market itself that attracts the interest from abroad. It's a very simple philosophy, like an old Chinese saying.

GamesIndustry.biz Many people in the games industry overseas still see China as chiefly a place to find outsourcing talent. Has this changed and if so, what kinds of new opportunities are there for overseas game companies in China?
Zhihai Han

Yes, but not fully right. There are still many outsourcing companies in China that wish to meet outsourcers, that's why we organise the China Game Outsourcing Conference (CGOC).

But we are also glad to see that more and more Chinese game companies have become outsourcers themselves, and offer work to both local and overseas outsourcing suppliers. Over the past two years, more and more overseas outsourcing companies have joined CGOC, to build relationships with Chinese outsourcers.

Obviously, Chinese game companies also wish to secure qualified overseas outsourcing to help them to achieve higher game quality, in order to make first-class games and compete globally.

Haoxia Ming

China is a well-educated and resourceful country. Not only are there many talented outsourcing professionals, but new talents in related game development businesses are rising constantly. With CGOC, we hope that more overseas enterprises will come to understand that China is not only strong in game outsourcing, but also has the capacity to award contracts - thus providing limitless potential for business cooperation. This year's China Game Outsourcing Conference featured talks from top-level Chinese game operating enterprises, such as Shanda, Netease and Tencent, in the hopes expressing this theme - the rise of a new wave in global game outsourcing and the echo of China's voice.

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