Japan’s Marvelous shares untraded as China’s Tencent takes 20% stake


FILE PHOTO: People visit Tencent’s booth at the World 5G Exhibition in Beijing, China, Nov. 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares in Japanese games maker Marvelous Inc were untraded with a glut of buy orders on Tuesday and looked set to close up at the daily trading limit of 17% after announcing China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd would take a 20% stake.

Tencent will spend around 7 billion yen ($65 million) acquiring shares from Marvelous and its largest shareholders, Amuse Capital and its chief executive, Hayao Nakayama, a former Sega executive whose son founded Marvelous, for 576 yen each.

Marvelous said it plans to use the funds to launch games franchises and for overseas expansion of current titles, which include farming simulator Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town for Nintendo Co Ltd’s Switch console and cross-platform shooter Daemon X Machina.

The investment is the latest example of an influx of Chinese money and gaming content into Japan, where a largely unconsolidated industry underpinning the country’s pop culture is having to compete with well-resourced overseas rivals.

“In comparison to Western companies there is a widening abyss in terms of development capability and financial clout,” Marvelous said in a statement.

Tencent, the world’s largest gaming company, launched mobile title Code: Dragon Blood in Japan last month, which currently sits in ninth place in gross rankings on Apple Inc’s App Store, showed data from analytics firm App Annie. Peer NetEase Inc’s battle royale game Knives Out is second.

“Tencent is after the magic of Japanese companies creating ‘otaku’ geek-orientated content,” said Serkan Toto, founder of game industry consultancy Kantan Games, referring to the niche but lucrative fan base for products spanning games, animation and comic books.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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