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Iran is last ‘virgin’ market for games

Executives of the Shanghai-based Shinezone attend an industry fair in Tehran, the capital of Iran, to promote its games. Shinezone is among the first Chinese firms to gain a foothold in the mobile games market in Iran. — Gongsi

Executives of the Shanghai-based Shinezone attend an industry fair in Tehran, the capital of Iran, to promote its games. Shinezone is among the first Chinese firms to gain a foothold in the mobile games market in Iran. — Gongsi

SHANGHAI-BASED Shinezone is among the first Chinese firms to gain a foothold in the mobile games market in Iran.

“Iran is the last virgin territory to conquer in the international gaming market,” said Wu Jun, chief operating officer of Shinezone.

About a quarter of Iran’s population, or some 25 million people, play mobile games in a country with rising disposable income. Western game publishers aren’t allowed to do business in Iran, creating a prime opportunity for China, analysts said.

Shinezone said it will publish games in Iran in cooperation with local business partners and mobile application distributors. The government in Tehran has approved the setup.

Shinezone, which raised about 400 million yuan (US$58 million) in the latest round of financing earlier this year, has its sights set on overseas markets. It has published 30 games internationally in about 20 countries, covering gaming categories such as simulation, strategy, role-playing and real-time battles.

It plans to expand its range of games to encompass themes like tea culture and legendary Chinese stories, said Wu.

China and Iran share rich cultural histories, which makes business relations easier, said Ali Dehghani, commercial counselor at the Consulate-General of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Shanghai.

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