International mobile games revenue from Tencent and NetEase rose 382 percent this year, IHS Markit says

The two games publishers face a long road to scale international business, comparable to the opportunity in mainland China

Combined international mobile games revenue for Tencent and NetEase grew by 382 percent, from January through mid-November, 2018, compared to the 2017 calendar year. The companies’ combined international revenues rose from $78 million in 2017 to $376 million in the same time frame, based on a recent analysis of appScatter Group title data by IHS Markit (Nasdaq: INFO), a leading global business information provider.

New games releases have been largely frozen in mainland China since March 2018 because of a stiffening regime of regulations surrounding mobile games usage by minors. For the largest games publishers like Tencent and NetEase, these regulations have underlined the importance of international markets for future growth.

“Tencent and NetEase have begun to build a stronger international franchise for their games in response to the regulatory environment in their domestic market,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, games research and analysis director, IHS Markit. “However, even with this stronger focus, in the opening nine months of 2018, direct international revenues from mobile games represented only 3 percent of the companies’ total mobile games revenue. Both companies still have a mountain to climb to derive meaningful revenues from international markets to offset slowing growth in mainland China.”

NetEase was responsible for 72 percent of this combined company revenue growth, underlining Tencent’s relatively limited success in exporting its games to international markets. A huge hit in the domestic market, Tencent’s multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title “Arena of Valor” has failed to ignite Western audiences. Tencent’s PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile, “PUBG Mobile” released this year, has performed better than “Arena of Valor” in select markets -- often ranking in the top 50 highest-grossing Apple iPhone games apps in the United States. However, to put its performance in perspective, “PUBG Mobile” represented just 2 percent of Tencent’s overall mobile games business in the third quarter of 2018.

About the data

IHS Markit recently entered into a data-sharing partnership with appScatter Group (AIM: APPS), the intelligent app management platform. AppScatter now provides IHS Markit with country-level mobile apps data to support analysis of the mobile games market, mobile games companies and title performance. The combination of appScatter’s title-level mobile apps data and the extensive expertise of IHS Markit in the app economy and mobile ecosystems will deliver deeper insight into these market opportunities.

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