Niantic readies Pokemon Go for China launch

Possible partnership with Chinese publishing giant NetEase

Date Type Companies involved Size
January 2nd, 2018 partnership NetEase
Not disclosed
Niantic readies Pokemon Go for China launch

US developer Niantic is set to launch its smash hit location-based augmented reality game Pokemon Go in China.

The title was released around the world in July 2016 but has still yet to go live in China.

Speaking to the Financial Times, CEO John Hanke said the studio "absolutely intends to bring our existing games into China".

“Beyond that, there are opportunities to build games in China, both for China and for the world," he said.

NetEase partnership?

The Financial Times also reported that Niantic had sealed a partnership with Chinese publishing giant NetEase to release the game.

According to the Global Times however, NetEase has refuted it signed any such deal.

News of a China launch is a surprise given the country has blocked Google Maps - a key piece of technology that Pokemon Go relies on.

In January 2017, Chinese government officials had reportedly ruled out the game’s release by stating it would not grant the launch of location and AR-based titles until potential security risks had been evaluated.

Concerns included threats to to “geographical information security” and “the threat to transport and personal safety of consumers".

Niantic has learned many lessons since the launch of Pokemon Go, but it’s unclear whether these larger security concerns have now been alleviated.

Head of Content

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.