This year, online game technology development projects were listed in the "863" High-Tech Program, the national science and technology development program of China initiated March 1986.

This gives rise to hopes that China will boast more domestic-made online games in the near future.

"It is regarded as a strong signal that China's online game industry, which had been despised and scorned as a regular industry, now has achieved the support of the Chinese government," said Leijun, CEO of Kingsoft, a well-known software research and development company in China.

According to statistics, in 2002, the market value of China's online game business, which was only 310 million yuan (about 37 million US dollars) in 2001, rose to 910 million yuan (about 110 million US dollars), with an increase rate as high as 187.6 percent. And it is estimated that this value will be over 2 billion yuan (about 240 million US dollars) this year. The value brought by the online game business to other industries is larger–10 times that produced by the online game business itself. In 2002, the direct contribution of China's online game industry to the telecom, IT and publishing industries was 6.83 billion yuan (about 820 million US dollars).

"Nearly 80 percent of game software in China's online game market are foreign developed, especially by the Republic of Korea (ROK). Without the intellectual property, most of China's market profits lose in this way," said Li Wuqiang, an official with the Ministry of Science and Technology. "That's why we listed online game technology development in the'863' High-Tech Program."

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