Top game publishers in China

5 Biggest Video Game Publishers in China

Last Updated on June 12, 2024

With many Chinese video game companies expanding globally, it’s only natural for foreign developers to get curious about the country’s thriving gaming industry.

This $66.13 billion market is dominated by renowned publishers, each highly dedicated to introducing new games every chance they get to maintain the growing demand from China’s gaming population.

Understanding the major players in the Chinese gaming industry is crucial for market research, especially for overseas developers. Let’s examine some of the biggest video game publishers in China to help you stay ahead of changing trends and navigate this rapidly growing market.


Top 5 Chinese Gaming Companies You Should Know


Top 3 game publishers in China


1.   Tencent Games

If you have ever encountered or heard of WeChat, chances are you’re already familiar with how influential Tencent is in China’s digital ecosystem. Established in 2003, the company currently holds the highest-earning spot within the local game industry, with a predicted in-app revenue of $411 million.

Despite other local game developers reaching new heights overseas, Tencent’s margin against its main competitors remains huge in the Chinese market.

This tech giant’s success in the local gaming market mainly stems from publishing popular games like Honor of Kings, PUBG, Game For Peace, and League of Legends. It also co-owns battle royale online games like Fortnite and Ring of Elysium.


Dungeon & Fighter Mobile Promotional Poster

Dungeon & Fighter Mobile Promotional Poster (Source: SCMP)


Tencent has over 63,000 software solutions specifically designed for mobile users. With this technological advantage, it’s a no-brainer that the company has a profound impact on mobile gaming.

As a publisher known for bringing marketable mobile games, the game company recently launched Dungeon & Fighter (DNF) Mobile in the Chinese market last May 22nd.

Although DnF already had a PC version, it was a new online gaming title in the local mobile games industry. Despite this, it garnered $9.86 million in weekly sales. It has since risen in popularity, ranking third among the top-selling mobile games in Apple’s China App Store.


Tencent and Nintendo Switch

Tencent’s announcement as the local distributor of Nintendo Switch


Beyond its success in the mobile games sector, Tencent also attempted to bring console games to its consumers with a partnership with Nintendo Switch in 2019.

While it’s unclear whether the game company will still be the official distributor of these popular consoles in 2024, Tencent seems keen on developing and adapting its own console game titles in the future.

In last year’s The Game Awards, Tencent revealed Last Sentinel’s cinematic trailer for the first time. It’s a high-budget, high-profile project that may bring new industry forecasts to the Chinese gaming market in the long run.


2.   miHoYo

Among the Chinese video game companies making a stride in the overseas markets, miHoYo is perhaps the most thriving business right now. Its success locally and globally is mainly attributed to the popularity of Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail.

Thanks to its rapid growth, the company’s current market size has already reached around $4.2 billion, with an impressive net profit of 16.15 billion yuan.

Most of its games integrate with platforms beyond mobile, from popular consoles like PlayStation 4 and 5 to PC.

With its game development strategy mainly focusing on advanced graphics and immersive gameplay mechanics, it’s no surprise that miHoyo invested heavily in artificial intelligence and augmented reality.


MiHoYo’s Event Booth at Gamescom 2023 in Cologne

MiHoYo’s Event Booth at Gamescom 2023 in Cologne, Germany (Source: China Daily)


Besides innovation, miHoYo strongly emphasizes online community engagement. The company regularly interacts with its player base through local social media, forums, and in-game events. This approach helps not only retain players but also gather valuable feedback to improve their games.


3.   NetEase Games

Founded in 1997 by Lei Ding, NetEase is another game development and publishing giant in China worth checking out. Since its foundation, it has grown to become a powerhouse in the Chinese gaming market, known for both its original titles and partnerships with international developers.

The company gained its footing within the industry by developing games like Fantasy Westward Journey, with cultural integration that resonates with local game enthusiasts. NetEase has also collaborated with Blizzard Entertainment to bring popular titles like World of Warcraft and Overwatch to China.


Source: Game Developer


NetEase’s gaming division has seen substantial revenue growth, driven by the success of both its mobile and PC games.

Thanks to the continued patronage of their titles in the Chinese gaming market, experts predict that the company will exceed the last quarter’s sales of $3.72 billion. One of the video games that drives the most income for the company is Knives Out, generating a global revenue of $10 million.


NetEase Game Catalogue

NetEase Game Catalogue (Source: NetEase Games Official Website)


NetEase’s strategy includes significant efforts to globalize its operations. It has successfully launched games in various international markets, including Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

With its global reach, the game company will continue to diversify its audience and revenue streams​ in the long run. It’ll be interesting to see what new trends emerge from its latest releases in the future.


4.   Century Games Pte. Ltd.

While smaller than Tencent or NetEase, Century Games is a significant player in the mobile gaming market in China.  In 2024, the company achieved a remarkable revenue milestone, surpassing $2 billion from user spending alone.

Popular titles like Whiteout Survival, Family Farm Seaside, and Dragonscapes Adventure primarily drive this impressive financial performance. Among these, Whiteout Survival stands out as the top-earning game, followed closely by the Family Farm series.


Promotional Poster for Whiteout Survival

Promotional Poster for Whiteout Survival (Source: Google Playstore)


Its influence in the Chinese gaming market mainly came from its diverse game development portfolio, which spans multiple genres, such as casual, role-playing, and strategy games.


5.   Perfect World Games

Perfect World Games was founded in 2004 by Chi Yufeng. Over the years, it has grown into one of China’s most prominent game publishers, known for its innovation in developing and operating various online games.

The company has developed and published numerous successful titles. Some of their most popular game titles include Perfect World, Forsaken World, Tower of Fantasy, and the recent hit Persona 5: The Phantom X, which was released in 2024.

These games have not only enjoyed success domestically but also garnered a significant player base internationally. The company’s continued innovation within the local gaming market allowed it to garner sales of around 7.8 billion yuan in 2023.


Perfect World Games - Website Homepage

Perfect World Games – Website Homepage


Another worthy contribution of Perfect World Games to the Chinese gaming industry is its collaboration with Valve to bring a localized version of Steam to China. This partnership opened doors for foreign companies to connect with local gamers through Valve’s game distribution services.


Notable Trends from the Biggest Game Companies in China

●     Expansion to a different platform

As the Chinese gaming market continues to grow, more and more publishers and developers are expanding beyond the usual mobile platforms. Some companies, like Tencent, are expanding in sectors like console games.

The tech giant is also partnering with Meta to introduce affordable VR headsets in China, particularly for the country’s dedicated gaming population.


●     More co-branding opportunities

With the rise in online consumption, Chinese gaming companies are increasingly engaging in co-branding opportunities to enhance their market presence and reach new audiences.

Many globally renowned brands, like KFC, recognize the influence video games have on China. This is one reason they entered a co-branding collaboration with Genshin Impact in 2021. It also gives them an effective marketing channel to reach younger customers, including Gen Z and millennials.


KFC x Genshin Impact Campaign Video

KFC x Genshin Impact Campaign Video (Source: Weibo)


This trend reflects a broader strategy where gaming companies partner with various sectors to tap into new consumer bases and create innovative digital marketing campaigns.


●     The surge of Chinese female gamers

The demographic landscape of gamers in China is changing, with a significant increase in female players. This shift influences game design, characters, marketing strategies, and community management.

Local female gamers now make up 46.2% of the overall Chinese gaming population. Companies like Tencent and NetEase are responding to this demand by developing games that appeal to a broader audience, including genres and themes that resonate with women.


Female Game Character in Honor of Kings

Female Character in Tencent’s Honor of Kings (Source: SMCP)


Quick Q&A

Who is the largest game publisher in China?

Tencent remains the largest game publisher in the Chinese gaming market. The company also owns part of Riot Games, which has helped the country to develop a thriving e-sports industry. Its strategic expansions into areas like virtual reality and its broad game distribution network further solidify its leading position.


Ready To Dominate The Chinese Gaming Market? Get In Touch With Us Today

Looking at these Chinese gaming companies, it’s clear that each of them intends to expand their services beyond the usual mobile and PC games. Always remember that strategic investments from these key players can lead to changing trends and forecasts within the industry.


You may also want to read:

Gaming Market China


At Sekkei Digital Group, our team has extensive industry experience assisting foreign gaming companies and related brands to succeed in the Chinese market. Through our expertise, we can boost your business’s visibility and find success amidst tight competition.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether you intend to market your video game or find a co-branding opportunity for your business, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let’s start working together.


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Annual revenue of leading Chinese gaming enterprises in 1st half of 2023

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