The Chinese online game market grew 25 percent to $5 billion in 2010, and is poised to surpass $8 billion in 2014, according to a new study from San Francisco-based Pearl Research.
The firm said in a Tuesday summary of the study that strong revenue increases from leading online game operators in the country are spearheading the growth in China.
The top Chinese online game operators in the region are Tencent ($1.4 billion in revenue in 2010), Netease ($749 million), Shanda Games ($680 million), Perfect World ($374 million) and Changyou ($327 million), Pearl said.
Some of the most popular online games among Chinese game operators include World of Warcraft
, Dungeon and Fighter
, Cross Fire
and Tian Long Ba Bu
Pearl also noted that 700-employee MMORPG operator Shenzhen ZQ Game completed its initial public offering last year on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, making the company the first China-based online game company listed domestically in the country.
The research firm also predicts that the Chinese online game market will see "much more mergers and acquisitions activities in 2011, as Chinese game operators, flush with cash, seek to expand overseas and strengthen their development capabilities."
A Pearl study from earlier this year said that Asia's 350,000 internet cafes continue to play a key role
in giving millions of online gamers access to their favorite games.
The government is pushing expansion of internet cafes in China by requiring internet cafe chains to operate at least 30 locations across three or more provinces, and maintain operating capital of over $7.7 million.