Monday, May 21, 2007

B-side News: EA Announces Partnership with The9

EA has invested $167 million into the Chinese online operator The9 Ltd. to bring FIFA among other titles to mainland China.

Electronics Art announced today that they have made an investment of roughly $167 million in The9 Ltd. The company is a leading online game operator in China. Both companies also announced a licensing agreement that allows for The9 to publish EA Sports FIFA Online in China. EA will own approximately 15 percent of the common shares of The9.

The9 currently operates licensed MMORPGs in China. Some of these include MU, World of Warcraft, Soul of The Ultimate Nation, and Joyful Journey West.

“EA will be a strong partner for us in the rapidly expanding online game market in China,” said Jun Zhu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The9. “We are seeing strong interest in online sports games in China with the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and FIFA Online is set to be a top favorite in the Chinese market.”

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