The9 - the Chinese company that runs World of Warcraft on the Mainland - has purchased an over 50% stake in MSN China (which was originally launched as a 50-50 joint venture between Microsoft and Shanghai Alliance Investment, an attempt to get around government regulations). Despite having WoW in their stable, The9 lags behind Shanda and two other companies for market share; the acquisition of MSN China, plus the deal made earlier this year in regards to an active role for development on the 360 and XBLA could change that.
"The purchase of MSN China's stake is part of The9's strategic layout. It is aimed at to build up a cross-business platform just like the one of Tecent Group, which is covering instant messaging, cyber game, online communities, and online auction," says spokesperson of The9.
Besides new deal, in March this year, The9 also joined hands with Microsoft on Xbox 360. However, the two parties did disclose the detail about the cooperation.
Insiders close to the company say that their cooperation focuses on the software platform of Xbox online games. For this purpose, The9 has founded a special video game department.
I'll be interested to see if this impacts The9's market share at all; I wouldn't personally want to have to compete with Shanda for domination of the Mainland gaming scene.
The9 to Buy Stake of MSN China [Trading Markets]