The increasing restrictions in the Chinese market have seen Western companies such as Amazon and LinkedIn pull the plug on majority of their operations in world’s second largest economy. A similar situation has been observed in the case of Chinese companies for whom the home market has become too restrictive, and who are eyeing foreign markets as they look to grow out of the Chinese mainland.
This has been the case with Chinese internet titan Tencent, which is now getting ready to roll out Honor of Kings, its flagship mobile game which was a huge hit in its domestic market, in the international arena.
The same was announced by a tweet by Level Infinite, the one-year-old Singapore-based publishing arm of Tencent that was established so that the Chinese behemoth could release games outside of China. The tweet added that there will be closed beta tests in the coming months, starting in July.
This comes after Tencent was excluded from the latest list of regulator approvals for publishing licenses. Since last June, it has not been granted any new game licenses by China’s gaming regulator. All games released in the Chinese market require a publishing license, and Tencent was excluded in both batches – in April (45 games) and June (60 games).
Honor of Kings, for its part, has captured a large chunk of both the Chinese mobile gaming market (which has over 660 million mobile gamers) and its international counterpart ever since it was introduced in 2015.
Said to be a mobile adaptation of Riot Games’ League of Legends, it became the highest-grossing mobile game on Google Play and App Store as it pocketed $10 billion in worldwide revenue by 2021. In fact, it garnered $2 billion from January to August 2021 alone.
However, it should be noted that Honor of Kings continues to be dominated by Chinese users – 95% – and had over $274 million in player spending (as of April). Outside of China (and Asia overall), a Westernized version of the game (Arena of Valor) was launched, which failed to garner similar success in foreign markets. It will be by the end of the year before Honor of Kings is available to users in the US, India, the UK, or other international markets.