OpenFeint powers Chinese mobile social game network Game Zone

The9 Game Zone
The9 Game Zone

Google and the Chinese government have a ... tenuous relationship. And mobile social gaming, namely Android gaming, has suffered as a result. Amidst frequent shutouts of the official Android Market in China, Chinese game company The9 has announced Game Zone, an OpenFeint-powered mobile social game network and distribution channel.

Through Game Zone, Western mobile social game makers can hit Chinese mobile game audiences across 30 Android app stores other than the Android Market. The service was made possible by deals The9 made with all three major Chinese mobile carriers: China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. The deals also allow Game Zone to be preinstalled on Lenovo, HTC, and Motorola Android phones.

While The9 will fund smaller American and European Android game creators through the $100 million-strong Fund9, it's the big league creators that might benefit most from this. PopCap recently announced that Plants vs Zombies will shuffle toward Chinese audiences, which is joined by Rovio's Angry Birds. Several Zynga games have launched in China, and perhaps this opportunity will nudge similar moves by the social game giant on Android.

We often talk about how Japan's mobile social game companies are encroaching upon Western audiences. It looks like the inverse is happening in China, where Western mobile and social game makers are looking to tap into their audience. It makes you wonder why Chinese game companies have yet to try the same at such a scale.

Would Western game companies be smart to enter China through products like Game Zone? When, if ever, will Chinese social game companies push as hard into the West as Japanese companies? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.