Chinese Game Localization Propelling Growth

Chinese Game Localization Propelling Growth

With a total 656 million mobile gamers and counting, China has the largest game market across the globe. The industry’s growth is expected to continue to surge, as projections are being made that the market will reach more than $71 billion by 2025. As such, gaming companies wanting to localize their product should give serious consideration to China as an option.

The benefits of localizing to the Chinese market include:

  • A substantial increase in revenue, especially considering that China had more than 76% of the mobile game market share in 2021.
  • A great opportunity to attract countless new customers, since Mandarin is one of the most widely spoken languages worldwide.
  • Higher rankings in app stores by generating interest in the Chinese market.

To ensure successful Chinese game localization, take a look at this guide.

Key Players in the Market

Before reviewing some of the challenges with Chinese localization, here is a snapshot look at some of the leading platforms and companies in the region:

  • China has the most smart phone users in the world, with more than 950 million.
  • Both iOS games and android-based games are popular in the country. Also because Google Play is banned in most regions of China, many Android-based games are purchased from local app stores.
  • The most popular game publisher in China is Tencent, followed by NetEase. Additionally, 37 Interactive Entertainment and Perfect World are other popular gaming companies in China.

Challenges with Chinese Localizations

While the Chinese gaming market is lucrative, foreign companies will have to overcome obstacle when localizing for the Chinese market. These challenges can be addressed with a clear localization strategy and a game translation company.

Here are some of the difficulties that will need to be considered from the beginning of the localization process:

  • Chinese has several language variations and dialects. Mandarin is the official language of the country, but there are numerous unique dialects of Chinese. The main languages are Mandarin, Wu, Yue (Cantonese), and Min. Making Chinese game localization even more complicated, Mandarin has four tones that affect a word’s pronunciation, meaning that one word can have four definitions.
  • There are two writing systems; they are simplified and traditional. Simplified Chinese has fewer characters than traditional, and it is the writing system that is mostly used on the mainland. One of the issues that ironically make simplified Chinese complicated is that it sometimes uses one character to represent separate words that have different meanings but are pronounced alike. Traditional Chinese is used primarily in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but variations of it can be found in different regions.
  • The language uses an intricate grammar system. Another difficult aspect of the Chinese language, especially during translation, is that its grammar system is complex. For example, one word represents both the singular and plural forms of that word. This can be tricky for people who speak languages that have separate words for singular and plural forms. In addition, verbs in Chinese are not modified to express tenses. Instead, people have to figure out the tenses by understanding the context in which they are being used. A Chinese game localization company can help sort out the grammar rules to make sure the correct meanings are relayed in the translation.
  • Cultural considerations are significant in the Chinese language. Cultural awareness and sensitivity are essential during Chinese game localization. Oftentimes, games in the Chinese market tie in myths or stories that are part of the Chinese heritage, which is something to consider when localizing. Additionally, games that are culturally inappropriate could be banned, so it is important to know what elements would be acceptable in the region. Working with a translator who is a Chinese native will ensure that the Chinese translation includes appropriate characters, messages, designs, images, and stories. Since a number of modifications will need to be made, it will be helpful for the translator to fully understand the game’s original version before embarking on the localization work.
  • Space and font allowances need to be made. The same text that is written in Chinese will usually need much less horizontal space than in other languages. For instance, two Chinese characters can correlate to eight English characters. Furthermore, Chinese characters often require a larger font than other languages, simply to make the intricate characters more Therefore, Chinese needs more vertical space than English. The solution is to design the localization with scalable text boxes to allow enough room for the translated content.
  • Payment methods are different. During localization, every aspect of the game’s functionality has to be addressed, including payment methods. In the United States, users will usually purchase games with credit cards and online payment systems, such as PayPal. However, these types of payment are not supported in China. Instead, Chinese consumers often use Alipay, TenPay, and UnionPay, along with QR codes. The translation company should know which payment methods are most often used in the Chinese market.
  • The user interface will need adjustments. In the Chinese gaming market, players tend to prefer colorful user interfaces. Depending on the color palette used in the original game, the color options might have to be revised. Other elements that would have to be considered are the button choices and icon designs.
  • The Chinese market expects fast updates. Chinese players expect the latest content and updates to become available as soon as possible. To maintain a competitive advantage, gaming companies have to keep up with the demand for new features by having a continuous localization process ready to be implemented.

Known as the “gaming industry capital of the world,” China makes up about 25% of the world’s video game market. Partner with a game translation services company to become a part of the success of China’s gaming industry.


China has the largest gaming market across the globe, making it an outstanding choice for game localization. While localizing for the Chinese market can greatly increase revenues, there are a number of challenges to overcome. Take a look at what factors should be considered when embarking on Chinese game localization.

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