Home   >   Data

From Peak Speed to Honkai: Star Rail – who to watch in the Chinese games market

Sensor Tower’s June report reveals 39 of top 100 global publishers come from China
From Peak Speed to Honkai: Star Rail – who to watch in the Chinese games market
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

China and successful mobile games are practically synonymous at this point, with big players like NetEase, Tencent and miHoYo thriving at the top.

But it’s not only them. Since the thawing of China’s games licence freeze, the industry has continued to heat up with fierce competition among the greatest growers in revenue.

Sensor Tower’s latest report highlights this, noting June 2023’s top Chinese mobile game publishers’ revenues, how their mobile games are performing overseas, and more.

China charges ahead

The June report demonstrates the dominance of Chinese game publishers in terms of revenue, revealing that 39 of the top 100 global publishers in the industry are based in China. Similarly, these companies account for 38.6 percent of the top 100’s global revenue, at $1.89 billion.

Among the goliaths and their games, NetEase’s Peak Speed is one developers should most certainly be watching; the racing game launched on 20 June this year and rose to the top three among the best-sellers list on iOS despite the competitiveness of said list.

Naishuihan, meanwhile, is a martial arts MMO that launched on the last day of June and has already joined Peak Speed in the top three, also reaching second place on the downloads list and maintaining its position there. These NetEase titles have contributed towards a 12.4 percent month-on-month increase in NetEase’s mobile games revenue. Its stock has rallied 85 percent too.

Of course, miHoYo’s Honkai: Star Rail has been smashing records since its release, reaching a massive 20 million downloads on its launch day back in April. The game has continued to excel since then.

Success stories

It isn’t just NetEase and miHoYo finding success, either: Chaoxi Guangnian has been rising the ranks too. Previously in the 20th spot among publishers, the release of Shen Xian Dao 3 in June has brought with it a 31 percent revenue increase and accelerated the company into 15th.

Zilong Games, meanwhile, is noteworthy for launching Seventh Epic in China and Archeland in Japan last month, together driving a revenue surge of a massive 143.8 percent month-on-month. Then there's Microfun, using games that merge genres like Gossip Harbor and Seaside Escape to maintain steady growth; this publisher's revenue has grown by 9 percent month-on-month, bring it to 27th place for the very first time.

Slightly behind, but still showing impressive results, is Deep Blue Interactive with Back to the Future: 1999. The 2D title launched in late May and spent three consecutive days at the top of China's download list on iOS in June, coming in at 18th overall for best-selling last month. This one game alone increased Deep Blue Interactive's revenue by 503 percent month-on-month, making the publisher one to watch going forward as it rises to 80th for revenue on a global scale.

With an even greater surge, Ujoy Games increased its revenue by a record 875 percent for the month of June, having released its mobile RPG Pixel Hero in the Korean market. As its name suggests, Pixel Hero uses pixel-style graphics. It gained traction through a promotional video with Korean group Norazo, bringing greater attention to it from young players. Sensor Tower's report notes that this type of strategy has been working well for many Chinese developers looking to break into the Korean market, releasing "moderate mobile games" to great applause.

Sensor Tower’s full report also details the success of mobile games publishers Giant Network, Lilith Games, IGG, Xindong Network, Youku Shengshi and more.

Whether the success of such games in South Korea could be impeded remains to be seen, as the country is considering enforcing its own approval system for Chinese games.

Many of the companies featured in Sensor Tower's report also made appearances in our Top 50 Game Makers 2022 list.