South Korea mobile games overcome China THAAD sanctions

Sept. 20 (UPI) — South Korean mobile game makers are overcoming financial problems they have faced since China imposed unofficial sanctions against their activities in the world’s second-largest economy.

Netmarble Games Corp., South Korea’s largest mobile games maker, is bypassing Chinese economic retaliation for U.S. THAAD deployment on the peninsula by branching out to markets in North America and Southeast Asia, South Korean news service News 1 reported.

Netmarble’s market capitalization has grown twofold in the past year, and its market value is currently estimated to be about $11.5 billion.

The company hit a stumbling block in February when China banned sales of its mobile games.

Management quickly shifted its focus on markets in North America, Japan and Southeast Asia. The strategy enabled Netmarble to mitigate losses, with sales down 5 percent in the second quarter.

The company, however, may have been lucky.

Netmarble acquired U.S. and Canada-based Kabam Games in February and garnered significant revenue in 2017 after launching a fighting game set in the Marvel Universe.

The game was a consistent bestseller in the Apple App Store in the United States and Canada.

Faced with the Chinese ban, Netmarble turned to the Japanese market in August, where they were also met with commercial success.

Lineage 2: Revolution, another popular mobile-based game, has secured close to 10 million users in Thailand, Taiwan and Singapore.

South Korean games maker and Netmarble rival Nexon struggled with Chinese sanctions, but has met commercial success in North America with the launch of a new game, LawBreakers, in August.

LawBreakers is a first-person shooter video game developed by Boss Key Productions and published by Nexon.

China had accounted for 40 percent of all of Nexon’s sales prior to sanctions.


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