Chinese Game Developer Chukong Raises $50M Series D Led By New Horizon

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Chukong, one of China’s largest mobile game developers, has picked up $50 million in extra funding led by Chinese private equity fund New Horizon Capital.

It comes on top of three previous rounds that included investors like GGV Capital, Sequoia Capital’s China fund, Disney’s Steamboat Ventures and Northern Light. That brings the company’s funding to a whopping $83 million to date.

While there have been rumors that the company may pursue an IPO on revived investor interest in Chinese consumer Internet companies, Chukong’s U.S. general manager Lei Zhang brushed off the reports.

“The company will stay independent. It’s not up for sale and we’re in the early stage of a fast-growing market,” he said.

The company is buoyed by aggressive adoption of Android smartphones across mainland China, which helped Chukong bring in $12 million in gross revenue back in August. (Keep in mind though that this is gross revenue, and China-focused mobile developers keep far less on the dollar than Western-focused ones do. That’s because there are a plethora of alternative Android app stores in the country that keep more than the standard 30 percent revenue share that Apple and Google Play ask for.)

The company’s business has a couple of arms: they build first-party games like the casual hit Fishing Joy. But they also do publishing on behalf of domestic and foreign developers that want to reach a Chinese audience. Their partners include companies like Gameloft, Nexon, Disney, Gamevil, and Konami.

They also build developer tools like Cocos2D-x, a cross-platform open source game engine used by many of the best-known mobile game developers in the world like Zynga and Germany’s Wooga.

Through their player network, they reach about 63 million monthly active players and about 11 million daily actives. About 90 percent of their players are from mainland China and the company’s flagship title Fishing Joy makes up the bulk of that.

Their funding round comes at a time when mobile gaming is starting to see interest from late-stage investors flourish again. Finland’s Supercell, which makes iOS mega-hit Clash of Clans, recently sold a 51 percent stake to Japan’s SoftBank and GungHo Online for $1.53 billion. The U.K.’s King.com is also reportedly looking at a possible IPO.

“All of that validates that this market is really not a bubble,” Zhang said. “It’s a solid industry supported by solid demand.”