Following its recent entry into the instant messaging market, Chinese search engine giant Baidu.com (BIDU) now turns its eyes to the computer games market.
Chinese media reports that Baidu is secretly brewing plans to enter the online games market and will soon launch several types of computer games to be operated exclusively by its own departments. Baidu will make use of its own online platform and online game channel to run the games and may source games from other partners.
Baidu's entry into the games industry will bring a great change to the industry. Other Chinese Internet companies like Tencent and Alibaba have started game divisions probably because of the potential real income to be earned from the sector. While companies like Sohu.com and Netease.com have struggled over the past couple of years to legally earn good income from wireless channels, their gaming channels have continued to do well. China's online game market value was CNY12.8 billion in 2007 and it will keep increase by more than 20% in the coming four to five years and will reach CNY40.1 billion by 2011.
Net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2007 increased by 34% quarter-over-quarter and by 50% year-over-year to CNY423.7 million for Chinese online gaming firm The9, while rival Shanda said net revenues increased 51.8% year-over-year for all of 2007.