Female gaming in China

The Future of Female Gaming in China [Top Market Trends]

China still holds the title of the world’s second-largest online video game market, with an overall annual revenue of $44 billion. The continued development and popularity of this industry are mainly attributed to its growing user base of 772 million.

From the themes and characters to the gameplay itself, the majority of games popular in Asia and all over the world seem to cater primarily to the male gender. However, did you know that 46.2% of China’s gaming population are women?

With the rapid growth of this demographic, it’s becoming clear how important it is for companies and game developers to consider the needs and preferences of female consumers.

Today, we’ll tackle the future of female gaming in China and other interesting trends that’ll give you insight into how to create promotional content suitable for these audiences.


Overview of the Female Gaming Market in China

No one can deny the surging popularity of the Chinese gaming market. In fact, this is one reason why the local government implemented strict policies regarding the industry’s advertising regulations and usage.

For a long time, the market was focused on male-oriented titles. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that the country’s female gaming population skyrocketed beyond its average growth rate.

For example, the female-oriented mobile game market increased in value from 12.9 billion RMB in the 4th quarter of 2019 to 19.2 billion RMB in the 1st quarter of 2020. The unprecedented growth was also seen in the number of Chinese mobile game players, which rose from 305 million to 357 million.


The rapid growth of Female Gaming in China


Records show that in 2023, almost half of China’s 772 million online gaming population was made up of local women. The growing influence of this demographic in the market has driven major developers into creating female-oriented games.

Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice pioneered this game genre in China. On its first day in the market, it generated a whopping 20 million RMB ($2.76 million). This massive success is a good example of the kind of economic power the She Economy holds within the country.


Game posters for Mr Love: Queen's Choice

Game posters for Mr Love: Queen’s Choice (Source: Google Play)


Main Differences between Female and Male Gamers in China

●     High preference for simulation games

Female gamers in China seem to gravitate more toward titles with simulation elements. These games often allow for creativity and narrative development, which resonate more with female players than their male counterparts, who prefer more competitive or strategy-focused game titles.

It’s part of why games like Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen (奇迹暖暖) and Animal Restaurant (动物餐厅) have continued to be popular among female gamers in China.


Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen (奇迹暖暖)

Love Nikki-Dress UP Queen (奇迹暖暖) Website Homepage


These games not only provide a platform for self-expression and escapism but also foster a community-centric gaming environment that appeals to this particular demographic.


●     More impulsive consumption than male gamers

Chinese women playing online games tend to spend more money on in-app purchases than men. However, it’s important to note that this consumer behavior is partly influenced by the types of games that attract Chinese female players.

In general, many of these game titles are monetized through microtransactions for aesthetic or functional items.

If you closely examine recently released mobile and simulation games, you’ll notice that limited-time offers and seasonal discounts often motivate players to buy these in-game items.


Female E-sports Gamers in China

Female E-sports Gamers in China (Source: China Daily)


●     Higher game stickiness

“Game stickiness” refers to a player’s engagement level and loyalty to a game, often measured by the frequency and duration of play sessions.

Local studies and market observations suggest that once female gamers in China find a game that resonates with their interests, they tend to show higher loyalty and longer engagement periods than male gamers.

This could be linked to the types of games that are popular among females, such as role-playing games and simulations, which typically require ongoing engagement. These attributes may also foster a deeper emotional connection to the game content.​


Top Trends on China’s Female Gaming Market

1.   More Female Characters in Popular Games

Having a female character portrayed in a game does not guarantee attracting traffic from players of the same gender. However, it does promote inclusivity and proper representation.

For example, despite being a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, 54% of Honor of Kings players are women. Beyond the user-friendly gameplay, the increase in interest from this demographic also stems from the release of female characters.


Female Game Character in Honor of Kings

Female Game Character in Honor of Kings (Source: SCMP)


While gender inclusivity is a good thing in general, women in China’s gaming scene tend to be wary of how these female characters are portrayed.

According to in-depth studies, some Chinese gamers dislike representation stereotypes, such as female characters having healer-style roles or support abilities, while male characters have more combative skills.

Local simulation games also seem to have the same problem before, with the majority of female characters represented as calm, docile, and in need of a male savior. As the gaming market continues to gain Millennial and Gen Z players, companies should remember that these gender roles may not appeal well to modern women in China.


CrossFire QQ Page China

CrossFire QQ Page China


Beyond online game characters, the abundance of in-game accessories and items meant to attract female players is also worth noting. These content types are the major growth drivers of the market, especially since they encourage women to play and spend money for better aesthetics and gameplay.


2.   The Rise of Otome Game Titles

Otome-style video games were once the bread and butter of the female gaming market in China. These game titles are typically released in simulation and mobile formats, and players have to win men’s hearts by selecting a number of decision-based options.

This game style involves choosing appropriate dialogues that lead to different storyline developments. It originated in Japan, but the genre eventually caught the attention of domestic gaming developers.


Source: Dao Insights


In 2023, Otome games accounted for almost 75% of the Chinese gaming market’s overall revenue. This impressive number is mainly driven by the genre’s Gacha profit model. It’s when players can buy in-game currency to get a chance to purchase a limited-edition item or unlock a new character.

The continued patronage of gamers for this genre also led to the release of a sequel series for Mr. Love: Queen’s Choice. The new game installment comes with a 3D character modeling format, which is the first in the industry.

In its first month alone, the game attracted 6 million users and generated 600 million RMB. This groundbreaking release made major game developers like Tencent Games and NetEase announce the release of their new titles under the same genre.


Promotional poster for the new Otome game in China

Promotional poster for the new Otome game in China (Source: Love and Deepspace)


3.   IP Collaborations Between Brands and Online Games

More than half of the Chinese population is playing online games, so it’s the kind of industry companies cannot afford to overlook.

While creating and launching ads for these channels has merit, incorporating brand elements within the game is an excellent strategy to enhance local visibility and recognition organically.


Video Game Character on Honor of Kings Wearing Burberry Skins

Female Character on Honor of Kings Wearing Burberry Skins (Source: BBC)


Burberry executed this strategy well when collaborating with Honor of Kings to release special-edition skins. Instead of using intrusive advertisements to connect with this demographic, the brand was represented by allowing players to customize their characters with their iconic designs.


4.   Chinese Women in E-Sports

Female gamers are becoming a reckoning force in the Chinese gaming landscape, often driving trends and influencing the development of new games tailored to their preferences.

The influence of women in the local gaming industry can’t be denied, especially with Li Xiao Meng being the highest-paid female e-sports player in 2023. She earned over $241,510 for winning around eight tournaments in the span of one year.

In addition, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of professional female e-sports athletes and teams, reflecting better gender representation within the sector. This shift is supported by various gaming companies and brands that are promoting female e-sports tournaments and leagues.


Dota 2 Online Gaming Competition

Dota 2 Online Gaming Competition (Source: Global Times)


Best Strategies to Attract Chinese Female Gamers

●     Work with trusted Female Gaming KOLs

The Chinese gaming market is a $44 billion industry, so it’s natural to find gamers who play for more than just entertainment. Key Opinion Leaders are seen as experts in their field, with their viewers trusting their reviews and opinions about different products and services related to gaming.

Female KOLs hold an influence beyond the game. Many of them can easily build massive fanbases across social media channels in China. For example, the hashtag #电竞少女 or esports girl, has attracted over 72 million views on Xiaohongshu.

The trend features aesthetically pleasing gaming stations, headsets, PC setups, and outfits that are directly connected to the interests of female gamers.


Gamer Girl trend on Xiaohongshu

Gamer Girl trend on Xiaohongshu (Source: Jing Daily)


KOLs can help promote brands by providing authentic gaming experiences and reviews. Their endorsements can help overcome stereotypes and attract a broader female audience.


●     Highlight Female Characters in your Social Media Promotions

As we already mentioned, proper gender representation is particularly valuable for Chinese women in the domestic gaming market. Local social media platforms cater to over 1.06 billion people, opening many opportunities for companies to appeal to this demographic’s specific preferences.

You can showcase these characters through popular video-sharing platforms like Douyin, Kuaishou, and Bilibili. Representation matters, and when female gamers see characters they can identify with, it increases their interest and engagement with the game.


MiHoYo’s Official Bilibili Account, with more than 2 million followers

MiHoYo’s Official Bilibili Account, with more than 2 million followers


Marketers can also try to engage with the gaming community through interactive social media campaigns. For instance, they can encourage user-generated content in which players create their own stories or share experiences related to female characters in the game.

This strategy amplifies engagement and builds a community around your game, which is particularly effective in China’s social-centric digital landscape.


●     Establish Presence on Community-based Online Channels

Engaging directly on popular local forums and community-based platforms such as Douban and Zhihu is another strategy to consider for attracting female gamers in China.

Many female gamers consider these platforms as a safe space to share their experiences and discuss games without being subjected to typical gender-based prejudices found in more male-dominated industries.

You can also use these forums as a feedback channel to better understand the needs and preferences of female gamers. With this strategy, companies can leverage more targeted game development that caters to this growing player segment.


●     Leverage Upcoming Chinese Festivals and Holidays

Organizing in-game events or competitions during major Chinese holidays, such as the Chinese New Year or National Day, can boost engagement. These events are the perfect opportunity to offer unique, time-limited content or rewards that encourage players to participate more actively during the holiday period.

The festive season often sees increased leisure time and spending. Because of this, many companies usually set the release of new games and updates during these events to maximize their visibility and appeal.


Ready to Dominate the Female Gaming Market in China? Get in touch with us today!

The female gaming market shows no signs of slowing down, especially if you look at the numbers it’s been producing in the past few years. However, as massive as it is, the industry is still shaped by ever-changing trends and consumer preferences.


You may also want to read:

Gaming Market China


At Sekkei Digital Group, we have enough industry experience and skills to help your brand reach your target audiences. Our experienced team is here to guide you through every twist and turn, unlocking your brand’s full potential.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns or working with KOLs, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help your brand succeed in China’s gaming market.


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