Another Chinese gaming company squeezed into the Hong Kong Stock Exchange this month, but it didn’t seem to make a very good start. FriendTimes, a Chinese mobile company that produce role-play games, sufferer a 30% price drop in three days after it went public on October 8.
There are 19 Chinese companies listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange that are doing the gaming-related business. But most of these gaming-related companies are suffering from a revenue decrease in the first half of 2019 apart from Tencent, Kingsoft, iDreamSky, NetDragon and Zen Game.
FriendTimes’ stumbling start is also expected. People may still have a linger fear for the tightened policy in gaming industry in 2018. Chinese gaming industry growth was only 4.6% last year, first time since 2013 that grew slower than the global gaming market, according to iResearch.
Private equity investment in gaming industry also dropped to a four year low in the first half of this year. In the first five months of this year, there were only 24 investments in gaming of about Rmb4.8 billion ($677 million).
Under this circumstances, FriendTimes is trying to target specific audience to gain momentum. Its role-play games are specifically targeting female players. FriendTimes’ games are usually with beautiful scene, well-made music, more accessories and easy to operate.
Strict policy is always a concern for Chinese games. “Some of these games are using TV drama with intriguing plots as its storyline,” one gaming anlyst told FinanceAsia. “But as China puts more sensorship on intriguing plot, some games’ storyline will get affected and carefully examined.”
Another concern comes from the user base – a targeted user base means less diversity of its users. “Most of these games with delicate paiting style only attract female users,” another KPMG esports analyst told FinanceAsia. “In a shooting game like PUBG, you can find both male and female users and has wider market. But in those games there are only females.”
But Chinese female gamers continued to grow in the past few years, and the number is expected to reach 300 million this year, according to gaming research firm CNG. Developers are exploring every gameplay to increase users’ willingness to pay, and it is still a competitive market.