IPOs - Asia

Shanda says its revenue growth to outpace industry

SHANGHAI, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Shanda Games Ltd GAME.O, China's top videogame company, said its revenue growth over the next five years would average 18.4 percent annually and continue to outpace the industry.

Shanda CEO Diana Li also told a media briefing over the weekend that the company’s 18 Fund investment unit would step up its efforts to acquire established online game companies as well as investing in and supporting early-stage online game products.

“Over the next five years, average (annual) growth in China’s online game industry will be 18.4 percent, and globally it will be 17.7 percent,” Li said. “Our company’s growth will exceed this average pace.”

Her industry estimates indicated a marked slowdown from the sector’s recent rapid growth.

The Chinese online game industry’s sales in 2008 surged 76.6 percent from a year earlier to 18.38 billion yuan ($2.7 billion), and a Chinese government official estimated in July that it would grow 30 to 50 percent this year to 24 billion to 27 billion yuan.

Li said Shanda would also expand into overseas markets, such as the United States, with a relatively large population and a growing online game market, although it would move cautiously.

She did not give a figure for the company’s overseas revenue this year but said it was still small, in the $10s of millions, while up about seven-fold from last year.

Li added that the 18 Fund had invested $500 million in more than 40 projects in the three years since its establishment. Some of those are already preparing to list their shares publicly.

The fund plans to invest at least another $500 million over the next three years in at least 40 more projects.

Shanda Games, carved out of China media company Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd SNDA.O, completed the first billion-dollar U.S. IPO in 17 months in September but then fell 14 percent on its first day of trade in one of the worst trading debuts of the year.

Shanda Games produces “Legend of Mir”, a popular multi-player online role-playing game, and operates “Aion” in China.

It competes with NetEase NTES.O and Tencent Holdings 0700.HK in China's increasingly competitive gaming landscape, as well as Ltd CYOU.O, a videogames company also spun off from a Chinese company, Internet portal Inc SOHU.O, earlier this year. (Reporting by David Lin and Edmund Klamann; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)