Shanda (SNDA) has obtained an exclusive license to operate NCsoft's highly-anticipated game "AION: The Tower of Eternity" in mainland China.

The closed beta testing for AION began on October 27, 2007 in Korea, and closed beta testing in China is expected to commence in the second half of 2008.

AION is a multi-faceted story set within a mythical world, involving the oppositional Angelic and Demonic races and the growing common threat posed by the emerging Draconic race. In the AION universe, the actions of individual characters shape and advance the game's storylines with the potential to alter the dynamics of the game's environment as well as character alliances.

NCsoft and Shanda also announced a strategic alliance pursuant to which Shanda will become a strategic investor of NCsoft's Chinese subsidiary, NCsoft China, to enhance their collaboration in China.

"We are very excited to bring our highly anticipated title AION to the China market," said Tack-jin Kim, CEO of NCsoft. "Shanda is our most ideal partner in China, given its proven track record in operating MMORPGs, its nationwide distribution platform as well as its strong marketing capabilities. We believe our partnership with Shanda represents an alliance between leading game companies in Korea and China, and we are very optimistic about our collaboration going forward."

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