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OpenFeint partners with Chinese game company to bring network to China

by Phil Hornshaw

OpenFeint’s expansion into Asian territories just got kicked into high(er) gear.

The mobile social gaming company, which has a user base of 75 million players over 5,000 mobile games on Android and Apple’s iOS platform, was just acquired by Japanese social gaming company GREE for $104 million. And hot on the heels of that deal, OpenFeint has made a partnership with Chinese game platform and developer The9 to create a new social gaming network in China, according to Pocket Gamer.

The new network, called The9 Game Zone, will be powered by OpenFeint’s technology and include all the social aspects the company offers to other game developers under the OpenFeint label, including friends lists and messaging, achievements and online leaderboards. OpenFeint and The9 are pushing the new network to developers with the promise that it’ll help bring their games to the highly lucrative Chinese market, where mobile gaming is taking off and Android in particular is very popular. They’re also encouraging the developers use the network’s ads and virtual goods support as ways of monetizing their apps further.

OpenFeint’s acquisition by GREE wasn’t supposed to shake up the internal framework of the company, and this new partnership with The9 suggests that OpenFeint is operating just as it always has despite the new ownership. The two companies’ combined efforts are now to expand their social frameworks all across the globe, and it would appear that OpenFeint is already hard at work in that arena.

This also isn’t the first time The9 and OpenFeint have paired up. Earlier this year, the two companies joined forces to encourage game developers on Apple’s iOS platform to jump ship and bring their games to Android as well. They helped the developers finance the projects with the help of TheFund9, a $100 million fund to amp up Android development.

Spreading the successful OpenFeint framework to China could potentially be a pretty big boon for Android as an encouragement to game developers to use the network and the platform to get more games in front of more players. New stats suggest Google’s Android Market is growing pretty rapidly and may even surpass the iTunes App Store this year (and the Market already offers more free apps than iOS does), and helping to open another huge market is only going to accelerate that growth.

That could mean more developers making Android games, and more great games for us.