For CEO of Kabam, maker of cham­pi­ons, work is just a game

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By MENGJING mengjing@chi­

It is rare to find any chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer — let alone one lead­ing a com­pany with 800 em­ploy­ees— find­ing the time to spend three to four hours a day play­ing games. But Kevin Chou does.

Chou, CEO of Kabam Inc, a US mo­bile gam­ing de­vel­oper and pub­lisher, de­scribes him­self as a very “prod­uct-fo­cused” leader and he is now bring­ing the same level of fo­cus to the China mar­ket.

The San Fran­cisco-based Kabam, which ear­lier this year of­fi­cially launched its first game, Marvel Con­test of Cham­pi­ons in China, is ex­pected to bring an­other game to the coun­try in Spring 2017.

The com­pany re­cently an­nounced in China that it has teamed up with Has­bro tomake a mo­bi­legame­based on the Trans­form­ers fran­chise.

“Trans­form­ers are loved by con­sumers in China and around the world and we are thrilled to part­ner with Has­bro to bring the brand to life with this new mo­bile game,” said Chou.

He said China is on track to over­take theUnited States as the world’s big­gest mo­bile gam­ing mar­ket and his com­pany will make “a very big in­vest­ment” to bring the games they make into the Chi­nese mar­ket.

As China be­comes more af­flu­ent, its mo­bile gam­ing mar­ket is ex­pected to sur­pass the US in the 2016 with an es­ti­mated an­nual rev­enue of $7.7 bil­lion, thanks to an in­creas­ing num­ber of smart­phone users and a ris­ing num­ber of pay­ing gamers. That’s ac­cord­ing to a re­port jointly re­leased by the Bei­jing-based Global Mo­bile Game Con­fed­er­a­tion, mar­ket re­search firm New­zoo and big data firm Talk­ing Data.

Chou said on av­er­age Chi­nese gamers spend a lit­tle less than those in the West. But China’s top play­ers are very rich, spend­ing much more than those in Western coun­tries.

As one of the very few Amer­i­can gam­ing com­pa­nies that are very fo­cused on in­vest­ing in China, Chou said his com­pany has a unique ad­van­tage as all of the com­pany’s founders are Chi­nese Amer­i­can who can eas­ily bridge the cul­tural gap in gam­ing.

To lo­cal­ize the com­pany’s hit game Marvel Con­test of Cham­pi­ons, which has made more than $300 mil­lion in the US, Kabam took some char­ac­ters which are un­known by Chi­nese con­sumers out of the game.

Be­cause the com­pany is still on a learn­ing curve in China, Chou ad­mit­ted the rev­enue of the marvel game in China may not be able to sur­pass that of the US. “But we are con­fi­dent we will have some good busi­ness re­sults,” he said.

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