PopCap’s Slow and Steady Investment in Asia May Be Starting to Pay Off

PopCap Games has long adopted a “What happens in Asia, stays in Asia,” approach to its business in the region, giving the unit an unusual level of autonomy to experiment with and localize its titles.

That hands-off approach may be starting to pay off.

The Asia unit is set to contribute about 10 to 11 percent of PopCap’s overall earnings, up from about 5 percent in previous years, according to James Gwertzman, who heads the unit for Electronic Arts. Before it was acquired by EA, PopCap said it made more than $100 million in revenue last year so a back-of-the-envelope guess means we may be looking at a runrate of about $15 million for the Asia business alone.

PopCap’s recent release Plants Vs. Zombies Social also reached close to a half-million daily active users on Renren this past week, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign by the Chinese social networking platform on behalf of the gaming company.

This traction didn’t come easily however. It’s the product of more than five years of investment and relationship building in the region.

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