The mobile gaming industry is gaining greater momentum in China as tech-savvy millennials' purchasing power increases.
The gaming market grew 5.2 percent year-on-year to reach 105 billion yuan ($15.27 billion) in the first half of this year, according to a report from industry database Gamma Data Corp.
Mobile gaming accounted for 60.4 percent of total game sales in China during the first half of 2018, contributing 63.41 billion yuan, remaining a main driving force behind the world's largest gaming market.
The number of mobile gamers grew 5.4 percent year-on-year to hit 460 million in the first half, 87 percent of total gamers nationwide. Most players are born in the 1990s and 2000s, a group referred to as millennials.
Xiao Hong, CEO of domestic movie and gaming firm Perfect World Co Ltd, said digitalera teenagers are more tech-savvy and more willing to pay for content they love compared to their parents. He made the comments on Thursday immediately prior to the launch of 2018 ChinaJoy, the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference.
"Members of today's younger generation have stronger personalities and diversified hobbies. Gaming companies need to offer a wide range of products to meet their needs," he said.
According to Xiao, the rising younger generation offers huge potential for growth in the ACG sector (anime, comic and games), as well as games targeting female gamers. Perfect World is actively tapping into these markets, he said.
Gamma Data's report said game developers need to seek new ways to expand, as China saw a slowdown in first-half domestic mobile game revenues.
The report said, as the mobile gaming sector becomes increasingly competitive, gaming companies have shifted their focus from rapid market expansion to refined management and operation in specific market segments, including female-targeted games and the ACG sector.
According to the report, female gamers contributed 24.15 billion yuan to domestic game sales in the first six months of 2018, up 13.5 percent year-on-year.
"Mobile games are notably appealing to women as they are light, fun and particularly highlight their emotional demands," said Kern Zhang, head of new business at mobile analytics firm App Annie in China.
Zhang added that the rising power of female gamers would create many market opportunities in the future, although it will still take some time to grow the market.