NetEase, a giant in Chinese gaming, seeks to conquer the world

The NetEase headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
The NetEase headquarters in Hangzhou, China. PHOTO: DING LEI

BEIJING (Bloomberg) - Chances are few outside of China have heard of NetEase though it makes more money from games than Nintendo.

 Now it wants recognition but first it will have to learn what makes Western gamers tick.

The company is on a global hiring campaign and exploring acquisitions or investments in foreign studios so it can earn 30 per cent of revenue from overseas by 2020, said Mr Ethan Wang, vice-president of NetEase Games.

The goal is to diversify from a saturated home market fought over with Tencent Holdings.

"Whenever we demonstrate our titles worldwide, people can see our self-made titles have very high production values," he said. "But the problem is... we are not familiar with the rhythm of overseas users, their ways of playing games."

The Hangzhou-based company remains best-known for bringing titles like Overwatch and Starcraft to local players.

  While it still plays second-fiddle to Tencent in gaming, self-developed hits such as Westward Journey have helped it outpace its larger rival's market gains over the past half-decade.

One way to galvanise growth is to seek out foreign markets.

Tencent has already spent billions acquiring Supercell Oy and Riot Games, picking up super-franchises Clash Of Clans and League Of Legends.

NetEase is now looking over its own potential targets, Mr Wang said