Fresh on the heels of new data showing China's economic growth fell to its slowest pace in 18 months comes news that could presage a further drop in the country's productivity: The massively popular mobile game Candy Crush is coming to China.
In an announcement Wednesday, Tencent Holdings Ltd. said it would cooperate with King Digital Entertainment PLC to release the highly addictive game in China through its popular mobile messaging platform WeChat.
Though some in China do play Candy Crush, which can be downloaded on Apple Inc.'s app store, the game's popularity in China lags far behind its status in the rest of the world. According to research firm App Annie's mobile app tracker, Candy Crush Saga is the second highest grossing game in the U.S. on iOS, while in China it's at number 65 on the store.
The new cooperation with Tencent is likely to help King Digital, which last month suffered the worst first-day trading of any IPO this year. ( ) Though King generated $586 million in net income in 2013 on revenues of $1.9 billion, China could offer a new source of growth for the company. The size of China's mobile-games industry could double this year to 22 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), and continue growing at a rate of 60% for the next three years, according to CLSA analyst Elinor Leung.
With the cooperation, Tencent said in a statement it would promote the game on its mobile chat applications. Tencent's WeChat, which now has 355 million monthly active users, is already proving a successful way for the company to drive traffic to mobile games. Tencent, which only began featuring games on WeChat last year, already has four of the top five grossing games in China on iOS, according to App Annie.
The new Chinese version of the game is also likely to address another problem for Candy Crush in China: access to social media. Most players of Candy Crush can send out requests to friends on Facebook to get new lives, but in China, where Facebook is blocked, the option is not available, meaning users who have run out of lives have to wait a half an hour (or buy new lives) to start playing again.
Jo Wang, a 29-year-old worker at an insurance company, said the game was quite popular in China among her friends last year, but since there was no ability to connect over social media with other players, people gradually switched to other games. Some players even figured out that they could tweak the clock on their iPhones or iPad to avoid waiting to get a new life.
Ms. Wang said she thought the new launch with Tencent could revitalize Candy Crush's popularity in China.
'If the game is relaunched on WeChat, and my friends send me requests for lives, I'll start playing it again,' she said.
-- Paul Mozur and Rose Yu. Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmozur
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在最新公布的数据显示中国经济增速降至18个月来最低水平之后，接下来的这则消息可能预示着中国生产率要进一步下降了：广受欢迎的手机游戏“糖果粉碎传奇”(Candy Crush Saga)即将登陆中国。
腾讯控股有限公司(Tencent Holdings Ltd., 简称:腾讯控股)周三表示，将与King Digital Entertainment PLC合作，通过旗下移动通讯平台微信(WeChat)在中国发布超人气游戏“糖果粉碎传奇”。
“糖果粉碎传奇”可以通过苹果公司(Apple Inc.)的应用商店下载，尽管中国确实有一些人在玩这款游戏，但它在中国的受欢迎程度远不及全球其他地区。根据研究公司App Annie的移动应用跟踪调查，在美国IOS系统游戏排行榜上，“糖果粉碎传奇”排在第二位，而在中国该游戏仅排在第65位。
与腾讯公司的合作可能令King Digital受益。King Digital上个月进行IPO，上市首日的表现在今年所有IPO中是最差的。2013年该公司实现净利润5.86亿美元，收入19亿美元，中国有可能成为该公司新的增长来源。里昂证券(CLSA)分析师Elinor Leung表示，中国手机游戏行业的规模今年可能扩大一倍，至人民币220亿元（合35亿美元），而未来三年将继续以60%的速度增长。