CocoaChina hires Kai Zhao as its U.S. VP of Engineering, plans to launch social gaming platform in 2013

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By Scott Reyburn

Chinese mobile game company CocoaChina today announced it hired of Kai Zhao as vice president of engineering as well as revealing some of the company’s plans in 2013.CocoaChina logo

Zhao is tasked with leading the technical direction for infrastructure supporting mobile games published in the U.S. Before joining CocoaChina, he was most recently the co-founder and chief technology officer for photo sharing startup Keepsy. He also co-founded Chinese translation website Yeeyan and worked for more than 15 years with major tech companies including AOL, Netscape and Motorola.

In 2013, CocoaChina has big plans for the U.S. and for the rest of the world. The company’s most important plan for this year will be the launch of its own social game platform around Q2 2013, which will be similar to GREE’s platform, DeNA’s Mobage platform as well as communication platforms with gaming platform elements like KakaoTalk and Line. It’s other plans include publishing third-party games in the U.S. from top Chinese developers, as well as its own titles, and launch a beta version of its development toolset for cocos2d-x, an open-source, cross-platform 2D game engine, by the end of Q2 2013.

Zhao’s experience building and maintaing large scale infrastructures for AOL products such as AOL web mail and AOL photo will translate to doing the same for CocoaChina’s upcoming social gaming platform, says Lei Zhang, CocoaChina’s U.S. general manager.

“We are looking to build an infrastructure that supports that scale, so Kai’s experience both hands-on and management experience in that scale, for the U.S., is tremendously valuable,” he says.

In late November 2012, we reported that CocoaChina’s FIshing Joy 2 was raking in $1.6 million in gross revenue a month on Android in China, with a conversion rate of more than 30 percent and saw average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) of $0.40. Fishing Joy 2’s gross revenue figure has since increased, according to Zhang, by more than doubling to $4 million in gross revenue as of February 2013. Zhang notes that seasonality from the Chinese New Year may have attributed to the recent increase in monthly gross revenue.

CocoaChina as a company, which was founded in 2008, started as a developer community for iOS developers, sort of like a Facebook or MySpace but for mobile developers only. The company also develops and publishes first-party and third-party mobile games mainly in Greater China as well as for the rest of the world. CocoaChina has partnerships with companies such as Disney Mobile, U.S. mobile developer Z2Live, South Korean gaming giant Nexon, and more, where CocoaChina publishes its partners’ games in the Chinese market. Lastly, the company is the sole financial backer of cocos2d-x.