So the recent integration of games and a mobile payment service into WeChat could potentially be a revenue generator. Multi-platform texting app KakaoTalk released Kakao Game last year and its monthly revenue rose nine-fold to $35.3 million in three months.
WeChat games are currently only available in China, but could roll-out to the service's over 100 million registered users in Southeast Asia, India and Latin America. Tencent plans to spend up to $200 million this year to advertise WeChat in emerging markets. The company is also building a mobile games open platform - featuring in house titles as well as those sourced from third-party developers - for WeChat and instant messenger service QQ.
"Part of Tencent's strategy is to invest in good content developers and publishers worldwide so they're very interested to see what other content is out there, how it's made, just to have access to good, talented developers. That's a key focus for them, " says Hans Tung, Beijing managing partner at Qiming Venture Partners.
Tencent is not alone in using M&A to build its presence in the mobile space. Baidu recently agreed to pay $1.85 billion for NetDragon Websoft's 91 Wireless, a Chinese mobile app store and game operator. With Google's Android mobile operating software the most popular in China yet its Google Play application store often inaccessible, a host of third-party store providers compete for users. It is a fragmented market and content is often infested by viruses and malware.
In 91 Wireless, Baidu will have one of the largest third-party app distribution platforms in China and a viable competitor for rival Qihoo 360's app store.
IDG Capital Partners, DT Capital Partners, iD TechVentures and Temasek Holdings-owned Vertex Venture were investors in 91 Wireless, and the mobile segment has seen an increase in investment and M&A activity over the last year. Mobile game developer China Mobile Games & Entertainment Group acquired eight game development teams last year and has raised $25 million in funding for further business development.
"The reason we are not as afraid of the creative risk in the investment is because we know mobile gaming is the best way to monetize traffic. If you have one hit game the chance of being bought by someone is actually pretty high, whether it's a listed Chinese media company or an online game developer overseas. People will want to buy you for the asset you have already. You don't have to IPO, " explains Tung.
100 million internet users in China2005-07-07 14:41:35 by Interloper
And 358 million cell phone users.
Let's borrow some more money, shall we?
The number of internet users in China has risen above 100 million for the first time, according to reports in the country's state media.
Only the US now has more web surfers as young and old Chinese take to the internet in record numbers.
The figure is expected to grow rapidly in the next few years.
China's economic boom is behind the dramatic rise as increasing personal wealth means more people are able to buy computers and go online.
But the Chinese authorities are less in love with the net
China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (CHL): Buy China Mobile Before Apple Deal Is .. — Seeking Alpha
It seems highly likely that China Mobile (CHL) will announce a distribution partnership with Apple (AAPL) in the near future. The evidence for such a deal has escalated recently and is getting substantive.