Mobile game publisher – and EA Subsidiary – Chillingo has announced that it’s opening a new location in EA’s Shanghai office, calling the Communist-led country’s diversity and growing mobile gaming market a “golden opportunity”.
With 1.2 billion people owning a mobile phone in China, close to a fifth of the entire world’s population, it’s hard to argue with their logic – and other publishers have been following suit recently, with PlayStation, Nintendo and Xbox all looking to take advantage of newly-relaxed regulations surrounding video games and Western corporations doing business in the country.
As a subsidiary of EA, Chillingo is known for publishing innovative mobile games: including Continue Play favorites Mega Dead Pixel and simian.interface, as well as formerly being involved with the publicity for Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. But aside from being a powerhouse mobile gaming publisher, Chillingo also offers production, marketing and analytics services to developers, and hopes to tap into China’s wide range of talents. In a statement, Ed Rumley – General Manager of Chillingo – said that “Our Chillingo team is excited to learn from and collaborate with the phenomenal powerhouse talent in China to bring unparalleled opportunities to talented developers of all sizes.”
So why has Chillingo waited so long to begin operations in China? It might be because although China’s mobile market is currently booming, it only overtook the U.S. last year. Or it could be that its app market was actually pretty poor until 2011, which is around the same time that country’s economy started its exponential growth. Back then, there was so little interest in the mobile market that when China imported the iPhone in 2009, it took an entire year for Apple to launch the App Store in the country.
Despite its slow start in the gaming sector, China now accounts for 70% of all app downloads – making it a very lucrative market to take advantage of. Mike Chen, Head of Production for Chillingo China, noted that “China represents a tremendous growth opportunity, both for Chillingo and for developers making it a natural location to extend our services.”
That’s business speak for “we can make a sh*t ton of money”, just in case you were wondering.
Things are already off to a strong start with a partnership between Chillingo and Happy Fish Games, and considering both companies’ resources and experience, and the rising interest in China as a growing digital market, it won’t be surprising to see some great things coming out of the country over the next few years.