MSN China is a 50/50 joint venture of Microsoft and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL) and last month it was reported that SAIL wanted out. Now the buzz is that Chinese online game company The9 Limited is buying their 50%.
CHINESE online game operator The9 Limited is likely to take over a 50 percent stake in MSN China from the state-owned Shanghai Alliance Investment.
The9 will sign a US$100-million contract with Shanghai Alliance Investment, sources told Shanghai Daily today.
The9 is the domestic [Chinese] operator of the World of Warcraft, the world’s most popular online game. It has attracted more than 3.8 million players in China since it was launched nationwide two years ago.
WoW is the major revenue source of The9, whose earnings dropped 40 percent in the second-quarter of this year.
In May, Nasdaq-listed Electronic Arts bought a 15 percent stake in The9.
It’s a somewhat odd couple, but since Microsoft apparently needs a domestic partner to play online in China, I guess The9 will serve.