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Japan's Marvelous shares jump 17% as China's Tencent takes 20% stake

[TOKYO] Shares in Japan's Marvelous on Tuesday closed up 17 per cent at their daily limit of 682 yen (S$9.02) after the games maker announced China's Tencent Holdings would take a 20 per cent stake.

Tencent will spend around seven billion yen acquiring shares from Marvelous and its largest shareholders, Amuse Capital and its chief executive, Hayao Nakayama, a former Sega executive whose son founded Marvelous. It will pay 576 yen each - 1 per cent below Monday's undisturbed closing price.

Marvelous said in a stock exchange filing it plans to use the funds to launch games franchises and for overseas expansion of current titles, which include farming simulator Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town for Nintendo's Switch console and cross-platform shooter Daemon X Machina.

The investment is the latest example of an influx of Chinese money and gaming content into Japan, where a largely unconsolidated industry underpinning the country's pop culture is having to compete with well-resourced overseas rivals.

"In comparison to Western companies there is a widening abyss in terms of development capability and financial clout," Marvelous said in a statement.

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Tencent, the world's largest gaming company, launched mobile title Code: Dragon Blood in Japan last month, which currently sits in ninth place in gross rankings on Apple's App Store, showed data from analytics firm App Annie. Peer NetEase's battle royale game Knives Out is second.

"Tencent is after the magic of Japanese companies creating 'otaku' geek-orientated content," said Serkan Toto, founder of game industry consultancy Kantan Games, referring to the niche but lucrative fan base for products spanning games, animation and comic books.


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