Shanda reports record revenue

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SHANGHAI -- Chinese online game giant Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd. reported record revenue of $97.8 million for the last quarter of 2007, company executives told analysts and investors Tuesday.

Revenue was up 52% over the same period last year, with annual revenue up 49% to $337.8 million.

"We saw a strong contribution from expansion packs and newly commercialized games," president Jun Tang said. "We also had higher conversion from players to paying customers, as well as new customers."

In 2008, the company is planning to release eight more massively multiplayer online role-playing games as well as six more casual games, he said.

The company reported that paying accounts increase by 12.7% during the fourth quarter, to a total of 3.47 million. Revenue from players of the company's MMORPGs as well as its casual games made up the bulk of the company's income, totaling $94.3 million in the fourth quarter, an increase of 53% over the same period last year. Of that, the MMORPGs accounted for $82.6 million, or 84% of total revenue.

According to Tang, players converted from free to paying status as a result of game expansion packs and in-game promotions. Other new MMORPG income came from a new title, World Hegemony, he said.

Tang also reported that the company had also seen other achievements in recent months, including getting an exclusive license to distribute Dragon's Nest, a three-dimensional online game, in China. In January, the company won 16 industry awards at the fourth annual China Game Industry Conference, "including the best game operator in China," Tang said. "Awards from this conference are considered the most prestigious awards in China's online game industry."

The company predicted that consolidated net revenue would continue to grow by 6% to 9% per quarter in 2008.

Shanda. MMORPG titles include the Legend of Mir II, the World of Legend and World Hegemony. Shanda's eight casual games include Bomb and Bubble, GetAmped and Disney Magicboard Online, a massively multiplayer 3-D online casual game in which players become Disney characters.

About half of its games are licensed and half are developed internally, said Shanda president and CEO Tianqiao Chen.
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