China's NetEase to launch first official Pokemon game in China

GUANGZHOU (Reuters) - Chinese gaming giant NetEase said on Monday that it would partner with The Pokemon Company and Marvel to release new games for the domestic market, as it looks to add more foreign content to its roster and shore up revenue.

FILE PHOTO: A man plays the augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" at Kennedy park in Lima, Peru, August 6, 2016. REUTERS/Guadalupe Pardo

A local version of Pokemon Quest will mark the first official Pokemon mobile game release for China, set to arrive nearly three years after Pokemon Go first hit the global market.

“The Pokemon Quest partnership is a new start and highly anticipated,” NetEase VP Ethan Wang said at an industry event.

NetEase will release the game in China in partnership with Japan’s Game Freak, the Pokemon developer.

NetEase did not reveal a release date for the game. Pokemon Quest first hit app stores globally in the summer of 2018.

The company said it had formed a separate partnership with Marvel to release “five or six” mobile games by the end of 2019.

The partnership with Marvel will include a global product, Wang said, adding NetEase hopes overseas revenue to account for 30 percent of its total in three years, versus 10 percent now.

NetEase, along with rival Tencent and other gaming firms, came under pressure last year as China stopped approving game licenses. NetEase shares plunged about 30 percent in 2018.

The stock has recovered since December after China resumed approvals. In March, regulators greenlit titles from NetEase.

Wang was he was hopeful the Marvel games will receive approval in time for a release by the end of 2019.

“My understanding is now we are gradually getting back to the right track,” he said.

Reporting by Pei Li and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Himani Sarkar