Riding on Taiwan's online gaming wave, industry player Soft-World International Corp. yesterday inked an agreement with Chinese software giant, Kingsoft, for the marketing and distribution of Legend of Knights Online, an immensely popular role-playing online game in China that developers said would hook Asian gamers.

Soft-World and Kingsoft said they were both expecting to make a windfall from the business alliance. Game Flier, a subsidiary of Soft-World, would manage Legend of Knights Online in Taiwan.

Launched last year, Legend of Knights Online was China's first domestically developed game. The game was based on popular Chinese martial arts and Chinese-style love affairs. It took Kingsoft three years and US$1.81 million of capital to produce its flagship online game. Its partnership with Soft-World would make it possible for players to access the game via local servers and play in a Chinese environment.

According to a press statement issued by Soft-World, Legend of Knights Online has 15 million paying members in China, and a concurrent user base of more than 150,000 players. Within the next three years, the company hopes to be the No. 1 game developer in the country. Shanghai-based Shanda Networking, which markets the South Korean multi-player fantasy game, Legend, is currently China's largest online gaming company.

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