Walt Disney’s Buena Vista Internet Group has signed a distribution deal with NetDragon, the Chinese casual and MMO game developer that owns TQ Digital. The agreement will cover content development and distribution, says Pacific Epoch, which tracks China’s telecom and media investments. NetDragon president and founder Liu Dejian says the companies will release a new game based on Disney characters next year. NetDragon, which is known for its popular titles such as ‘Conquer Online’, ‘Eudemons Online’ and ‘Zero Online’, says it will seek more overseas partners. Based in Fujian with offices in the US, NetDragon went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange last Nov. The firm reported a near 2,700% profit increase in the first nine months of last year, to USD35.8m. It also has an exclusive co-operation deal with China Film Group, to develop a new online game based on the theme, contents and characters of the movie, ‘Warlords’, which it started beta testing last Dec.
China’s online games market will grow 35% this year, generating revenues of USD1.3bn, according to Credit Suisse analyst Wallace Cheung, who predicts that the market will grow 11% on average up to 2017.
In-Stat, meanwhile, believes the market will reach revenues of USD2.1bn in 2010. Major overseas gaming firms have not ignored this potential – last May, Electronic Arts paid USD167m for a 15% stake in Chinese online game firm, The9.