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Fri, May 24, 2002 - Page 19 News List

Web gaming revenues in China may top US$100m


Online gaming revenues in China is expected to top US$100 million this year, a Chinese software company said Wednesday.

Officials with the company also said online gaming is condoned by the Chinese government because it distracts users from day-to-day problems in the country.

According to a survey conducted by NetDragon WebSoft, an online gaming developer, some two million of the officially estimated 33.7 million Chinese Internet users regularly log into online games, known as Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG).

NetDragon said the survey is an aggregate of data from 20 Chinese Internet service providers, 20,000 Internet cafes, and other sources. NetDragon estimates users now generate US$100 million in fees to play these games.

"The Chinese game market has been virtually ignored by the gaming industry as a whole," said Dejian Liu, CEO of NetDragon.

"But its a growing market that will eventually be a force in the industry."

NetDragon made its announcement at the Electronic Entertainment Expo here. The company is the first Chinese concern to exhibit at the massive trade show, which tracks 420 companies and an estimated 62,000 attendees.

Liu said Chinese government censorship of these online games has yet to materialize. China has routinely blocked news and other Web sites.

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