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Disney Sign Up to Chinese Online Deal
Latest Updated by 2006-05-25 16:31:03
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China's booming online games industry is likely to meet with some new characters as the Walt Disney Internet Group and Shanda Interactive Entertainment announced yesterday they would bring Disney images to games.

Shanda will develop, distribute and operate an online game based on the magical world of Disney which will feature some of its most popular animated characters according to the agreement between the two.

Targeting female online players in China the game will be available in open beta or preview stage, in the spring of 2007. Both refused to disclose any financial figures about the deal but said the online agreement marked the beginning of a long-term arrangement. Shanda spokesperson Zhuge Hui said the development process would be wrapped up by the end of the year.

"Shanda has a good reputation and close relations with the government which encourages and supports healthy games," said Zhuge. "The application (development) process is expected to go smoothly," said Zhuge.

China's online games industry has a large and loyal user-base of mainly young males. Last year the industry's revenue in China reached 3.77 billion yuan (US$465 million) which was an increase of more than 50 percent on 2004.

Shanda claims that in the first quarter of 2006 the average number of users of its online games reached 1.35 million with more than 30 percent being casual players.

As one of the largest operators of online games in the country Shanda currently market 12  games including seven involving role playing and five which are described as casual.

However, the company is looking to develop more games for its new target market--female players and their families. Online games have traditionally been designed for young male players.

"The Disney brand and its line-up of animated characters are already popular in China," said Chen Tianqiao, Chairman and CEO of Shanda. 

"We believe the addition of Disney's wholesome content will further broaden our user demographic thus making a significant contribution to the implementation of our home strategy,"
he said.

The agreement with Shanda marks Disney's first step into China's online market and provides them with a new means of promoting their stories.

"China has a large online games market with significant growth and this represents a good business opportunity for Disney," said Carter Agar, China manager of the Walt Disney Internet Group (Business Consulting).

Last year Disney and telecommunications company Qualcomm China jointly launched mobile phones with cartoon content.

Editor: Yan

By: Source: China Daily Website
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