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'I've got $100 million in the bank, but I'm still cautious about the future,' says LineKong CEO

Wang Feng on tempering ambition with pragmatism
'I've got $100 million in the bank, but I'm still cautious about the future,' says LineKong CEO

Given the dramatic turnaround in the LineKong's recent fortunes, CEO Wang Feng has plenty to talk about.

Yet his regular state of the industry-style addresses at ChinaJoy are more suggestive of personal style than taking advantage of particular circumstance.

"We are at a crossroads," he told the World Mobile Game Conference 2014 (via translation into English), part of a number of individually-branded streams that make up the business element of the ChinaJoy conference.

"We need to adapt to change."

Then - setting up a classic Chinese business contradiction - he stated, "We remain cautious about the future."

With the program

Given these comments, you might be forgiven for thinking that LineKong - a 500-strong developer with plans to IPO in Hong Kong - is one of those Chinese studios which is struggling to deal with the transition from a Chinese market dominated by online PC client and browser games to one in which mobile games will eventually take a third of revenues.

(Currently, it's around 15 percent.)

And for LineKong that would have been the situation 18 months ago. Not now.

"I have $100 million in the bank, but I don't want to expand our development capacity too much," Feng commented, underlining the company's successful move from a failing PC outfit to one that's now 100 percent focused on mobile and already has three very successful games - its Sword series.

As CEO of a successful company, this means the temptation is to develop more games. Instead, Feng argues, in his area he needs to show restraint, and focus on very high quality.

"We have six games in development and that is our maximum," he stated. "We're taking a boutique approach."

Opening the gates

Where LineKong is getting very ambitious, however, is publishing. Previously just a developer, LineKong is now moving aggressively into publishing mobile games.

Mainly this activity is focused in China, although it already has offices in Korea and Japan.

The move will see the company opening at least four offices within China to source talent. It also expects to spend RMB 500 million - around $80 million - over the next three years in terms of promoting the games its publishes.

Feng labelled this the '3, 5, 100' strategy: with the 3 being three years and 100 being the aim of sourcing 100 good games. (The '5' was lost in translation.)

It's also looking to spend cash acquiring licences; something Feng said were particularly important in terms of finding success in the card-collection genre.