Kingsoft Co has recently announced aggressive plans to expand its online game business following the launch of the country's first homemade online game last year–"Legend of Knights Online."

With "Legend" now racking up 80,000 paying players at peak hours each day, Kingsoft CEO, Lei Jun, revealed that the company would invest US$6 million this year in research and development of five new online games by increasing its game studio from the present one to three. The company will also start R&D on cellphone games, a potential gold mine for China's IT industry described by market analysts.

"Our goal is to have 200,000 simultaneous players for the game within the year," said Lei. "We are striving to become the country's biggest online game developer in three years." At present, Shanghai-based Shanda Networking is the country's largest online gaming company, and is making preparations to go public in the US. "Kingsoft's movements in online gaming last year were only a trial," said Lei. "We'll come up with the real thing this year."

China's online gaming industry has expanded rapidly in the past two years and attracted many companies like Kingsoft and also Sina, Sohu and to the business. The 2003 China Game Industry Report released last month said China's online gaming industry raked in US$157 million last year and is expected to bring in US$807 million in 2007.


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