Money is a big concern for Chinese mobile games companies, especially in terms of corporate development.
Surprisingly, the majority of the big PC game publishers are already listed, many on US NASDAQ exchange, although Giant Interactive was recently taken private in a buyback move; something that also looks likely to happen to Shanda Games.
China's mobile game companies aren't as big or as mature, but over the past two years, many of them have also listed, often on Chinese or the Hong Kong exchanges.
But it seems that market confidence is changing. At GMGC 2014, the VP of Shenzen-floated Ourpalm (SHE: 300315) Jia He said that Chinese game companies only had a six month window to list successfully.
"The market is cooling," he said. "2015 will be more risky. If you can't list in 2014, I think you need to look at M&A instead."
Certainly, this is an area in which Ourpalm has been active, spending over $600 million in 2013, acquiring developers Playcrab, Shang Game and Dovo.
Other companies have accessed stock exchanges in more unconventional manners.
Back in 2013, Youzu was purchased by the Shenzen-floated Susino Umbrella Company (SHE: 002174) in a deal that valued the developer at over $600 million. But since then, all its umbrella-related assets have been sold off, effectively making the deal a reverse-listing for Youzu.
Zeus Interactive has made a similar move, albeit more transparently, reverse-listing into wood flooring outfit Dalian Kemian Wood Industry (SHE: 002354) a deal worth over $400 million.
The upshot is that the corporate side of the Chinese mobile game industry is both messy and in many cases over-inflated. Companies are being bought and sold in a complex manner that says little about their underlying value.
Expect there to be plenty of pain in 2014 as the situation starts to unravel and return to proper market conditions.