Chinese Publisher The9 Sets Aside $100 Million For Mobile Developers

As often as we hear that Western game developers are looking for a way into China, it’s equally true in reverse — Chinese companies feeling constrained by their market are busy looking for ways to expand outward, as well. The9, originally known as the Chinese publisher of World of Warcraft, is the latest, with a $100 million fund for domestic and international app development.

The9’s core business is in publishing massively multiplayer games, but the company has had some difficulty since losing Blizzard as a client; more recently, it and EA agreed to end its rights to FIFA Online 2.

The move toward mobile dates back to July, when The9 invested an undisclosed amount in Aurora Feint, which runs the OpenFeint mobile social network. Along with the fund, The9 also announced a five-year contract to publish OpenFeint in China today, giving it access to social tools for any apps its fund spawns there.

Shanda, a much larger competitor, has also made note of a growing focus on mobile and social games; in a press release the company put out yesterday, it blamed slipping revenue on a switch to newer product lines.

Along with The9, three Chinese venture funds are in the $100 million fund: Chengwei Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management, and China Renaissance K2 Ventures.