In a saturated market, the gaming company leverages popularity of brands like Garfield and Doraemon to attract a global audience
Hong Kong-based mobile game developer Animoca Brands announced that it has raised US$3.5 million by way of share placement last week through financial investors, with plans to expand the company’s popular gaming business into the e-books market.
Animoca Brands trades on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) since January 2015 and is the only pure-play mobile games developer listed on the exchange.
Also Read: Hong Kong’s Animoca Brands goes public on Australian Stock Exchange
In July, Chinese games company Ourpalm invested US$2.2 million in Animoca Brands.
Formed in 2014, Animoca Brands works with existing cartoons like US comic strip cat Garfield, Japanese franchises like Doraemon and toy maker Mattel to star as characters in games. The company’s most recent launch is the game Ever After High Tea Party Dash, the first game in partnership with Mattel.
“If you go into the app store with a million choices, it gets quite crowded,” said Robby Yung, CEO of Animoca Brands.
Having recognisable names and brands differentiates the mobile publisher’s games from the rest, with licensing fees paid to partners.
Market opportunities in edutainment
Following the funding, Animoca Brands has plans to launch subscription-based edutainment products like e-books.
“The most successful children’s products tend to be subscription-based. It’s preferred by parents because it’s a great way to not just monitor what their children are doing, but what they’re spending, ” says Yung.
E-books are currently among some of the top performers in the Kids category in Apple’s app store and Google Play.
“We know how to make entertainment content that engages children. But distribution is a key part. You can create the greatest product ever but people might not find it, and it’s wasted,” Yung told e27.
Thus far, Animoca Brand’s games have been downloaded over 165 million times, growing at five to six million downloads per month, according to the company.
Hong Kong’s gaming ecosystem
The team of 70 people works out of Hong Kong’s Cyberport, where Outblaze, the company’s parent, currently headed by CEO Yat Siu (Director and Co-Founder of Animoca Brands), was based.
Also Read: 3 top mobile gaming trends by Outblaze’s Yat Siu
“Our market is most definitely global. We are an Internet-based business, so the market is everywhere. But our headquarters is physically located in Hong Kong,” says Yung, estimating that about 40 per cent of the company’s business comes out of North America.
As for working out of Hong Kong, say San Francisco, Yung says that a differentiating factor is the kind of talent available.
“Hong Kong produces great graduates. The challenge is that you’re not going to find someone with 10 years of experience. We do a lot of training, and it’s about growing talent from the ground up,” says Yung.
There also isn’t an abundance of software development companies, so the technology infrastructure in Hong Kong in terms of ecosystem of companies is smaller than some markets.
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