NetEase.com, one of China's top online game developers, will speed its push into the mobile sector as it looks to capitalize on the country's recent launch of high-speed 3G services, a top executive said.
Within the mobile sector, NetEase will focus on three areas: augmented reality, which allows users to conduct searches based on mobile phone photos; mobile language translators; and barcode scanning, senior vice president Feng Zhou said on Tuesday.
China is both the world's largest Internet market, with 235 million users, as well as its largest mobile market, with about 700 million subscribers.
After much delay, the country recently began rolling out third-generation (3G) mobile services, which allow for easy Internet use over mobile phones, through the country's three mobile carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.
We feel that the expansion of mobile Internet applications and services development needs new product innovation, Zhou told a conference in Beijing at one of China's top Internet shows.
He showed a video depicting a NetEase mobile product that will allow a user to scan pages from books using a cellphone and translate the words.
NetEase, which won the license earlier this year to operate Activision Blizzard's popular World of Warcraft game in China, has been ordered by a government regulator to shut down the game's commercial operations.
NetEase shares fell 2.4 percent in U.S. trade after it announced the development.
Zhou declined to comment on that situation but said the firm is trying to diversify from its core computer gaming business, where it competes with the likes of Shanda Games, Giant Interactive and Changyou.com.
We define ourselves as an Internet company, he said. The games operation is a very important part of our business...but we are pushing the development of our products in other business operations.
China's mobile Internet sector has been drawing a growing number of firms, with search leaders Google and Baidu both developing mobile products, along with start-ups like UCWeb, which has developed an Internet browser optimized for use over mobile phones.
(Editing by Lincoln Feast)