Electronic Arts licenses FIFA Online into China

Electronic Arts has made official a US$167 million investment in one of China’s leading online game operators, The9. The two companies also announced a license agreement that gives The9 exclusive rights to publish EA’s FIFA Online throughout mainland China. With FIFA Online currently enjoying 4.4 million subscribers throughout South Korea, the agreement is intended to further increase EA’s penetration of the online gaming market in Asia.

"EA will be a strong partner for us in the rapidly expanding online game market in China," Jun Zhu, Chairman of The9 told media. "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."

According to Hubert Larenaudie, President, EA Asia Online, the agreement is a "significant step" in EA’s approach of building the online gaming market throughout Asia. "The9’s proven expertise will be a tremendous advantage in bringing FIFA Online to a growing market and we look forward to partnering with them to bring the best online football gaming experience to millions of Chinese gamers and football fans," Larenaudie said.