According to a two reports issued today, China's video game and Internet use is swelling rapidly, so much so that its online game market is nearing $1 billion a year, and will overtake South Korea in the next year.
The first report from iResearch reveals that China's online game revenues will reach $970 million in the next year, up 28%, as Chinese consumers continue to flock to both MMOs and casual game titles - with Blizzard's World Of WarCraft
rapidly moving to the front of the MMO pack, ahead of a number of Chinese-authored titles.
In a separate report from eMarketer named 'China Online', the analysts behind it note that China, with over 111 million Internet users in 2005, represents a huge potential online market. In fact, the market is due to grow to over 180 million Internet users by 2010.
However, in terms of paying over the Internet for services (as opposed to paying vendors at a Chinese cybercafe for playing games), the future still looks tricky, according to the report's authors.
"In spite of an overall red-hot economy, getting e-commerce to grow inside China has been slow going," says James Belcher, eMarketer Senior Analyst and author of the report. "The country is physically huge, and even Chinese Internet users are not great believers in credit cards. As a result, the simple act of paying for goods is not easy."
The report abstract
also reveals a number of interesting statistics on Internet penetration in Asian countries, another important factor when considering online game use.