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Despite growth of 73%, iResearch claims the $4 billion Chinese mobile games market is 'maturing'

Estimates Q3 market value at $1.1 billion

Despite growth of 73%, iResearch claims the $4 billion Chinese mobile games market is 'maturing'

That old chestnut - the size of the Chinese mobile games market - is up for discussion again.

Market research company iResearch has put out its figures for Q3 2014.

It says during the quarter, the Chinese mobile game market was worth $1.1 billion (RMB 6.98 billion).

This is up 9 percent compared to the previously Q2 2014 period or up 73 percent year-on-year.

Looking at the nine months of 2014 to-date, total market value is estimated to be $3.1 billion (RMB 19.1 billion).

Assuming Q4 growth of at least 50 percent, this would mean the Chinese mobile games market in 2014 would be worth at least $4.4 billion.

This compares with a Chinese government prediction in August that the mobile games market in 2014 would be worth $4 billion, while Niko Partners more conservatively put the total for 2014 as $2.9 billion.

Maturing fast?

Aside from absolute size, it's equally interesting to consider the market's changing growth rate.

For the first nine months of 2014, iResearch's numbers state the market is growing at 97 percent year-on-year.

However, taking a more granular view, it points out that the year-on-year growth rate per quarter is falling.

For example, compared to Q1 2013, the growth rate in Q1 2014 was up 120 percent. This year-on-year rate had fallen to 108 percent by Q2, and as already stated, in Q3 year-on-year growth is 73 percent.

Of course, this is still very high to most other countries, but it is falling fast.

The Chinese mobile games market is getting bigger but slower

And it's this situation that sees iResearch labelling the Chinese mobile games market as being in a "mature period".

That seems optimistic given its massive structural imbalances, however.

Small beer

In terms of the number of mobile games released during Q3, iResearch reckons that totaled 4,342, similar to Q2 but down from the more than 5,000 released in Q1.

It estimates there are 2,182 companies making mobile games.

The number of mobile games and developers is steady

Finally, iResearch also looked at the online games sector, which during Q3 2014 it estimates to be worth $4.6 billion (RMB 27.8 billion). This is up 20 percent year-on-year.

[source: iResearch]

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.