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Game makers' alliance set up
( 2003-07-23 09:58) (China Daily)

The first association for Chinese game developers and operators will be launched today in Beijing, in a milestone for the industry, a government official said.

The Game Working Committee - also called the China Game Publisher Association (CGPA) - under the Publisher Association of China will be established today with the participation of more than 80 businesses from the industry, according to Kou Xiaowei, deputy director of the Audio-visual, Electronic and Internet Publishing Department of the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

"The CGPA is a natural development in the industry and reflects the desire of all businesses involved," said Kou, a key official promoting the establishment of the CGPA.

Previously, games were viewed as having a bad influence on youth and being a waste of time and money. The CGPA challenges these stereotypes by becoming the first government-backed organization in the industry.

"We must say the industry is facing many difficulties, but its image in the eyes of the government and people has improved," said the GAPP official.

He said that despite its fast growth, the industry has been troubled by problems like piracy, lack of recognition from the government and society, and market competition.

Industrial sources estimate there are about 500 private game server operators in the country. These servers allow game players to access games without connecting to the website of official game providers, thereby avoiding payment.

Last October, private operators set up more than 1,000 servers for the popular online game Mir run by Shanghai Shanda Networking Co Ltd, the biggest online game provider in China. It took Shanda a year to set up the same number of servers.

Kou said yesterday that the CGPA had submitted a proposal to the GAPP and other government ministries to crack down on private game servers and protect the industry.

The game organization will also conduct a series of international exchanges to learn from the experience of game industries in other countries and regions.

The CGPA plans to hold a China-South Korea game industry summit in October or November to discuss co-operation.

Another seminar on co-operation between the Chinese mainland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Taiwan Province is also on the agenda.

According to US-based information technology market research house International Data Corporation (IDC), China's online game market almost tripled last year to 910 million yuan (US$110 million) and acquired 8.07 million game players, including 4 million paid ones.

IDC predicted the market will grow to 8.34 billion yuan (US$1 billion) in 2006.

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