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Online games sales soar in Internet-mad China
Updated: 2005-02-16 14:47

China, home to the world's second largest number of Internet users, saw sales of online games in 2004 soar 47.9 percent to 2.47 billion yuan (298.44 million dollars), state media reported.

A man stands besides advertisement posters at a video game fair in Shanghai. [newsphoto]

Among China's 94 million Internet users, 20.25 million were online games enthusiasts, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Press and Publication Administration.

In 2003 China had only 13.8 million online games players, with sales of related products and services amounting to 1.3 billion yuan.

The online games market has the potential to boom with expected revenues of 9.3 billion yuan by 2006, but could then level off in 2009 on forecast sales of 10.96 billion yuan, according to Xinhua.

While many games played in China are from overseas, authorities want to boost sales of the more than 300 homemade online games over the next five years.

Beijing launched a nationwide crackdown on online computer games last year, banning foreign games with sensitive political content as part of attempts to shield the country's young from harmful influences.

In one case a Swedish-made game was accused of distorting history and damaging China's sovereignty, by showing Manchuria, Tibet and Xinjiang as independent nations.

Officials have repeatedly said they intend to promote healthy online computer games for young people, who currently make up around 20 percent of China's online population.

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