Technology

Game publisher Electronic Arts to buy 15% in Chinese firm















MUMBAI: Interactive entertainment games publisher Electronic Arts has made an equity investment in one of China‘s largest
online game operators.


The two companies have also announced a licensing agreement that gives The9 exclusive publishing rights for EA Sports Fifa Online in China.


Upon completion of the equity investment, EA will own 15 per cent of the common shares of The9. The investment is roughly $167 million.

 

The agreement builds on EA‘s strategy of partnering with proven regional operators to bring online games to Asia, and The9‘s strategy of expanding its game product offerings in the Chinese market.


EA Sports Fifa is EA‘s leading international sports franchise and is seeing early online success in Asia. Last year, EA and Seoul-based Neowiz partnered to launch EA Sports Fifa Online in Korea, now one of Korea‘s most popular games, consistently ranked among top performers with more than 4.4 million registered subscribers. The9 has exclusive publishing rights for the game in mainland China.

 

The9 chairman and CEO Jun Zhu says, "EA will be a strong partner for us in the rapidly expanding online game market in China. We are seeing strong interest in online sports games in China with the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Fifa World Cup in 2010, and Fifa Online is set to be a top favorite in the Chinese market."


EA Asia Online president Hubert Larenaudie says, "This is another significant step in EA‘s strategy to build an online presence in Asia. The9‘s proven expertise will be a tremendous advantage in bringing FIFA Online to a growing market and we look forward to partnering with them to bring the best online football gaming experience to millions of Chinese gamers and football fans."

 

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