Chinese social games firm gets $35M funding

Beijing-based Happy Elements gets US$30 million in second round funding to expand to Western markets and launch smartphone games.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

Chinese social game developer, Happy Elements, now has funds totaling US$35 million which will be used to expand its reach to Western markets, launch smartphone games and hire more staff.

The Beijing-based company raised US$30 million in a second round of funding led by Legend Capital with participation from existing investor DCM, bringing its total funding to US$35 million, news blog TechCrunch reported Monday.

The new funds will be used to expand Happy Elements' reach to Western markets, launch new smartphone games and hire more talent, it said. By end-2012, the company plans to release about eight new titles, the report added.

Founded in 2009, and with a current headcount of 300, Happy Elements in May that year launched its first social game, My Fishbowl, on Chinese social networking site RenRen. Three months later, the game was made available on Facebook, where it currently has 1.5 million daily active users. Its game titles are now also available on other social networking sites in Japan and South Korea.

Executives from Happy Elements said in a TechNode interview in October last year that it was not aiming to be the leading social game developer in the Chinese market and, instead, had its eyes on the global market. They noted that the social game industry was a "truly global opportunity, especially for Chinese companies", and it was more lucrative to build games for social networks outside of China because "sheer numbers dictate it".

Last week, Singapore-based social games startup, Nubee, received US$13 million funding from Japanese venture capital firm, JAFCO, which it said would help to expand its developer pool.

According to market research firm Gartner, the social games revenue market would be worth US$4.5 billion in 2012, up from US$3.2 billion this year.

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