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ChinaJoy 2013: Chinese developers need to up their quality to grow market, says Shanda CEO

Too many 'poor games' at present

ChinaJoy 2013: Chinese developers need to up their quality to grow market, says Shanda CEO
Based in Shanghai, the ChinaJoy event combines multiple industry conferences with a large consumer expo.

Kicking off the first day of the five-day event was the China Digital Entertainment Congress, in which many of the top Chinese game executives give short speeches about their business, and the wider Chinese industry.

One such was Xiangdong Zhang, the CEO of Shanda Games.

This giant PC/online games publisher - whose shares are available on the US NASDAQ exchange (GAME) - is now heavily focused on mobile games to provide growth.

"Revenue from our mobile games have been greater than we expected," he said, talking through a translator.

Shanda posted Q1 2013 revenue from mobile games of RMB 106.5 million ($17 million), which was about 10 percent of its overall revenue.

Pointing out the Chinese mobile games market was now worth over RMB 1 billion (around $160 million), he said that was the reason many Chinese PC/online developers were turning to mobile.

"But we need to see better product. Mobile games need to different to PC games," he argued.

"Some mobile games are very poor. We need more high quality titles that will grow the market and follow the demands on consumers."

Platform conflict

It wasn't just developers that Zhang had something to say about, however.

With platforms and stores (from companies like Tencent, 360, 91 Wireless etc) making up a vital part of the mobile Chinese market, he said there needed to be a rebalancing of financial risk.

"The developer takes too much risk, but the platform companies have a smaller risk, so there is a conflict between them," he said.

"I believe there needs to be more common ground between the two."

The way ahead

Yet, in general, Zhang was upbeat.

"We have sound DNA for making mobile games," he said, of the Chinese industry.

"There's also a large audience for PC/online games that we can bring to mobile games as long as we are patient and dedicated."

In terms of Shanda's own approach, Zhang said he was pleased how its start-up investment fund in Korea was working, and would be bringing a similar fund to China soon.

Thanks to this approach, Shanda has over 30 mobile games in development, and as well as looking for growth in China, is also working with companies in Japan, and finding success with its games in Korea and Taiwan.

"In terms of our operation, we're looking to work with successful foreign companies and then bring that knowledge back to China," he said.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz 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.

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