Officials from Electronic Arts have announced plans to open a 500 person studio in China, which it intends to make the company’s global center for developing online games.
Speaking to Reuters, the company’s Asia general manager Jon Niermann stated: "We have an objective to build Asia into a billion dollars [in annual revenues] by the end of the decade. We expect China will be the lead market in Asia, but there's upside for EA in all Asia, including Japan."
The company is still in talks with Chinese officials and has not finalized plans for the studio, which could possibly involve a joint venture with a local company.
The online games market in East Asia, excluding Japan, was worth an estimated $761.5 million last year, and is expected to grow 19 percent annually to $1.84 billion by 2008, according to research firm International Data Corp. (IDC). Within that total, China's share stood at $159.7 million last year, but is expected to grow at twice the regional rate to $823 million in 2008.
The company also expects strong growth in games for mobile phones, with the wireless gaming market in East Asia, excluding Japan, worth $237.4 million last year and expected to grow 40 percent per year to $1.3 billion by 2008, according to IDC.