China smartphone market to reach 215 million by year's end

Yodo1 gets $2m to bring mobile games to China

Chinese publisher Yodo1 has recieved $2 million in seed funding to help western developers monetize their mobile games for the Chinese market.

China currently has over 180 million smartphone users, a figure that is expected to grow to 215 million by the end of 2012.

As demand skyrockets, Yodo1 is looking for western partners interested in bringing their games to market in China, but this task comes with additional cultural challenges.

"Western smartphone games have huge potential in China, but most Western developers don’t know how to monetize this market,” said Henry Fong, CEO of Yodo1.

“For example, Chinese gamers can spend a lot of money on virtual items and showcase these items to other players; that’s very different from the Western market where gamers may not want others to know they are spending to get an in-game advantage."

Fong believes this means a western company must have local partnerships if it wants to maximize its potential in an eastern market- for which he claims Yodo1 is particularly well suited.

"We think Yodo1 is unique because we don’t just promote and publish, but also have a full studio of experienced mobile developers, creative artists and game designers that can quickly adapt Western games to the way that Chinese gamers prefer to play – and more importantly, prefer to pay.”

Yodo1 already boasts a high-profile partnership with Robot Entertainment, the studio behind iOS hit Hero Academy.

In porting the game for its new market, Yodo1 introduced a set of new characters themed for a Chinese audience.

Customers can invite friends from a variety of local social networks to join their team of shaolin monks and flying swordsmen in the turn-based medieval strategy game.

"Hero Academy gets more downloads in China than in any country except the US, even before Yodo1 helped localize it,” said Patrick Hudson, CEO of Robot Entertainment.

“By adapting the game for Chinese players, we can deliver Hero Academy to a much larger audience in China."

The $2 million grant from the Chang You Fund will help Yodo1 accelerate this process, bringing more games to the fastest growing mobile market in the world.

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