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King focuses on China with Tencent 'Candy Crush' launch


candycrush-screenshoot
Tim Ferguson

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Chinese web giant Tencent is to launch a version of King’s hugely successful ‘Candy Crush Saga’ game for its home market as the game maker looks to continue its momentum following its recent IPO.

The game will roll out on Tencent’s Mobile QQ and Weixin mobile messaging platforms. Weixin — known as WeChat overseas — has more than 200 million active users in China, meaning King will gain access to a significant new audience.

King CEO Riccardo Zacconi said the partnership is aimed at making the game “as popular in China as in the rest of the world”. Localised versions of ‘Candy Crush Saga’ were launched in South Korea and Japan last year.

King has been able to successfully monetise Candy Crush through the sale of virtual in-game items but is heavily reliant on the game.

Candy Crush accounted for 78 per cent of King’s bookings (the total spent on games and virtual items) in the fourth quarter of 2013. ‘Candy Crush Saga’ alone had 97 million daily active users with 1.07 billion daily game plays in February.

Despite the success of Candy Crush, King’s IPO in March wasn’t as successful as hoped as investors appeared unconvinced of the company’s ability to produce another global hit.

King raised $500 million (valuing the company at around $7 billion) but once the shares started to trade under the KING ticker in New York, they opened at $20.50, and fell to $19 at the close of trading, a 15.6 per cent first-day drop. At the time of writing, the shares are trading at just over $18.

The company showed the first sign last week that it was diversifying from the Candy Crush-style games with its latest launch, word puzzle Keyword VS.

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