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Supercell staffing up China game development studio

CEO Ilkka Paananen discusses his evolving vision for the company

Supercell staffing up China game development studio

Supercell is turning its China office into a game development studio much like its Helsinki HQ.

In a blog post, CEO Ilkka Paananen said his initial vision for the company was to have just one single studio and keep things simple for the firm.

But after getting to know the Chinese games industry better, at the start of 2018 the company took steps to building a development team at its Shanghai-based branch. It's the only dev studio the company has outside of its HQ studio that wasn't part of its M&A activity.

“I admire how the best developers in China think about social game play and also how much new quality content they bring their players every month,” said Paananen.

“There is definitely a lot us Western developers can learn. Our goal with this new studio is exactly the same as with our studio in Helsinki: create games for the global market, games that are played for years and remembered forever.

“We feel like this is a unique opportunity to bring together the best of two different worlds.”

High bar

Paananen said however that building up the team will be a long process, one that it has only just begun. The studio will also of course also have to adhere to supercell’s famously high bar for game releases - effectively a billion dollars or bust.

“Supercell is a serial killer of games, and we will also maintain this high bar for any games created out of our Shanghai studio,” said Paananen.

“We only release games that we are proud of and that we believe would be played for years - so getting the first game out from Shanghai might take a while.”

At the time of writing, Supercell currently has four job openings at its Shanghai studio. It’s on the hunt for community & content marketing, business development, a game designer and a senior game client programmer.

The Chinese games industry has grown rapidly over the years, becoming the world's most lucrative games market, which Supercell no doubt hopes to further expand into.

Supercell's latest financials showed the company's revenue and earnings before tax dipped for the second year in a row to $1.6 billion and $635 million respectively.

Despite that, the studio's earnings must bounce back up again this year thanks to the successful launch of Brawl Stars, its first global release since Clash Royale in 2016.

Supercell hopes to release Brawl Stars in China soon, following the end of the country's licensing freeze.

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Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.