ByteDance Acquires Chinese Game Developer C4Games, Advancing Globalization Efforts

Hu Bing, CEO of C4Games, issued a letter to his employees on Tuesday to announce that the company had been officially acquired by ByteDance.

Expanding to overseas markets was the most important reason why C4Games chose to join Bytedance. “We believe that global game industry is booming. In the future, game developers must serve not just players in one region, but global players. Our market positioning fits very well with the global view of Nuverse, a game brand under ByteDance,” Hu noted in the letter.

Established in 2011, C4Games is a comprehensive mobile game company integrating R&D, operations and publishing businesses. Red Alert Online is its most popular product.

In 2017, C4Games launched a role play game in the Japanese market. According to Sensor Tower’s data, 23 Chinese mobile games were listed on Top 100 in Japanese market in Q1 2020, garnering a total revenue of $488 million. At that time, the role play game, which had been in operation for three years, ranked second behind Knives Out.

In terms of the company’s development plan following the acquisition, Hu said that there are three important things to do. Firstly, C4Games needs to fully communicate and cooperate with Nuverse. Secondly, it will pursue ultimate success in basic projects to create growth and exceed expectations. Lastly, by focusing on accumulation of experience, it needs to lay a solid foundation for building a first-class platform of game creation.

In March this year, ByteDance acquired another gaming company Moonton Technology. After this acquisition, Moonton will maintain independent operations while absorbing ByteDance’s overseas operating experience to jointly explore the global game market.

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Moonton’s representative product Mobile Legends, which was released globally in 2016, enjoys more than 90 million active users every month around the world. Its popularity in the Southeast Asian market is comparable to King of Glory’s in China.

These two game companies that ByteDance acquired in quick succession both enjoy a large market share in global game industry, which means that ByteDance will focus on overseas players due to Tencent’s dominance in China’s domestic market. King of Glory, Pubg Mobile and Game for Peace, launched by Tencent, continue to grow in popularity among Chinese players.

The global market is gradually becoming the most important battlefield for game companies. According to a report by Youxiputao, a Chinese gaming media outlet, four or five domestic games ranked in the Top 10 best-selling games in the American App Store.

The acquisition of Moonton and C4Games will offer ByteDance useful experience in introducing Chinese mobile games into overseas markets, as well as make up for its shortcoming in card games and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA).

As a game brand launched in February this year, Nuverse is very attractive to outbound game companies. According to ByteDance’s introduction, Nuverse is a game development and publishing company for game users and developers around the world.

In March, Nuverse announced the Inspiration Fund, which aims to provide capital to promising game startups and offer a variety of customized post-investment services.  

As Moonton and C4Games expand further globally, they will also gain support from TikTok, a short video app under ByteDance. TikTok ranked highest in total downloads among all mobile apps in the first quarter of 2021, according to data released by Sensor Tower.

TikTok’s success lays a great foundation for ByteDance’s globalization efforts. By the end of 2019, ByteDance’s products had acquired more than 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide, covering 150 countries and regions.