EA: China among top three markets

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SHANGHAI -- U.S. video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. expects China to join Japan and South Korea as one of its three largest markets by revenue in Asia-Pacific in two to three years.

EA, which has more than 200 employees developing online games in China and purchased a stake last year in The9 Ltd also expects China to become one of its three fastest-growing Asian markets in a year or two, Asia General Manager Jon Niermann said in an interview on Tuesday.

China, where EA is focusing on online games to avoid concerns about piracy, is still a relatively small market for EA, which has traditionally marketed video games for consoles such as Microsoft Corp's Xbox and Sony Corp's PlayStation.

"The focus really is about how do we capture online game market share, and mobile game market share, and the biggest focus for me right now is online games in China and Korea," said Niermann, a former Disney executive.

China-based rival Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd also prefers the online gaming format in China over console-based games, as online games are difficult to copy illegally.

France's Ubisoft Entertainment SA, which creates, publishes and distributes console games, has also said it was looking for a partner in China to help it enter the country's booming online gaming market.
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