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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!


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EA Acquires 15% Stake in Chinese Online Operator The9

by Rainier on May 21, 2007 @ 4:30 a.m. PDT

Two months ago we reported that EA had plans to go get a stronger foothold in the asian market and had reached an agreement with The9 Ltd. to buy a stake in the Chinese online game operator, which was later denied by a spokes person. It has now been confirmed that EA bought a US$167 million (15%) stake in The9.

''EA will be a strong partner for us in the rapidly expanding online game market in China,'' said Jun Zhu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The9. ''We are seeing strong interest in online sports games in China with the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 2010, and FIFA Online is set to be a top favorite in the Chinese market.''

Hubert Larenaudie, President, EA Asia Online, said, ''This is another significant step in EA's strategy to build an online presence in Asia. The9's proven expertise will be a tremendous advantage in bringing FIFA Online to a growing market and we look forward to partnering with them to bring the best online football gaming experience to millions of Chinese gamers and football fans.''

EA SPORTS FIFA is EA's leading international sports franchise and is seeing early online success in Asia. Last year, EA and Seoul-based Neowiz partnered to launch EA SPORTS FIFA Online in Korea, now one of Korea's most popular games, consistently ranked among top performers with more than 4.4 million registered subscribers, according to EA's company data. The9 has exclusive publishing rights for the game in mainland China.

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