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Kiwi tech’s big China hope

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Newsroom's technology columnist Richard MacManus takes a deeper look at the opportunities in China for New Zealand technology companies and finds we have a few advantages

In her recent annual report for the internet industry, Mary Meeker noted that “China is catching up as a hub to the world’s biggest internet companies.” Nine of the top 20 internet companies in the world, by market valuation, are Chinese. That puts China nearly on a par with the United States, where the other 11 come from.

This has huge ramifications for New Zealand’s technology sector. In particular, it opens up opportunities for our local startups to expand into China. Maybe even be acquired by one of those big nine Chinese companies.

Indeed, that’s already happening. As noted in my column last week, China’s second-biggest internet company Tencent has made significant investments into our gaming industry. It’s now the majority owner of Grinding Gear Games and a 25 percent owner of RocketWerkz.

Of course to become an acquisition target, you first need to establish a presence in the market. Before being acquired, Grinding Gear Games worked for two years to create a Chinese version of its game Path of Exile. It not only changed the language but also the content of the game, mainly to address censorship issues. The Chinese version launched last August, which paved the way for Tencent to buy a controlling stake in Grinding Gear Games this year. . . .