Game companies welcome service trade agreement

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Sep 09, 2013 - Page 3

A cross-strait agreement to liberalize trade in services has been heavily criticized as potentially damaging to Taiwan, but several Taiwanese online games companies said on Saturday that the accord would help them tap the Chinese market.

A spokesman for Soft-World International Corp, a Taipei-based computer game distributor and developer, said that at present, it usually takes between six months and a year to gain approval from Chinese authorities to sell Taiwanese online game products in China.

This delay affects the market-debut effects of their products and jeopardizes their sales in an industry where product cycles are short, Soft-World said.

Under the agreement signed in June, which is yet to be approved by the legislature, the screening process in China would be cut to two months, which would help online game companies’ business development there, the company said.

Gamania Digital Entertainment Co chairman Albert Liu (劉柏園), said that in the past, Taiwanese computer game companies encountered many barriers when trying to enter the Chinese market.

Based on the premise that Taiwan’s overall benefits and services for game players are protected, Liu said he recognizes the new cross-strait agreement’s value in “establishing a more free and open trade relationship.”

Under the pact, China would shorten the screening period for new products to under two months, while Taiwan would allow Chinese online games businesses to engage in production and research and development in Taiwan.

Some Taiwanese online games operators said Chinese businesses in the online gaming sector had already entered Taiwan through other channels, without the deal having taken effect.

However, the agreement would accelerate the development of Chinese companies in Taiwan, the operators said, adding that they hoped the government would take measures to ensure that Taiwanese game operators will enjoy the same treatment in China as Chinese businesses receive in Taiwan.