A nationwide survey has revealed that the number of China's online gamers is expected to exceed 59 million in 2008, up 20 percent from last year's 48 million.
The conclusion is based on the survey of more than 300 websites, 270 enterprises and 50,786 interviewees around the country, reports China Daily.
The 'Netguide 2008' survey, which began in January last year by the Data Center of the China Internet (DCCI) and Internet Society of China (ISC), reported that in China the market value in 2007 witnessed a 57-percent increase compared to previous year's 9.36 billion yuan (1.2 billion US dollars).
A Shanghai-based company, Giant Interactive (NYSE: GA) that offers multiplayer online role-playing games, emerged last year's third biggest gainer with a 14-percent market share.
The Nasdaq-listed Shanda (Nasdaq: SNDA) and the popular portal Netease (Nasdaq: NTES), which has supplemented online gaming to its services, maintained the lead in 2007 by revenue and number of subscribers.
Fu Zhihua, director of the DCCI research department that conducted the survey, said that other renowned game developers such as Kingsoft (HK: 3888) and Perfect World (Nasdaq: PWRD) went public, indicating a trend in 2008.
The survey also showed that free-to-play online games services, instead of the fee-based model, would continue to dominate the market with an estimated 80-percent market share.