If King Digital's disappointing IPO this year demonstrated anything, it's that investors seem afraid that Candy Crush is little more than a one-hit wonder. Yet the gaming company may have more magic up its sleeve, with a major new initiative that should gain it some traction in a market that has been historically lackluster: China.
With Candy Crush's popularity dipping in the U.S. (though it is still the second highest grossing game stateside on iOS, according to App Annie), King just inked a partnership with China's Tencent Holdings, one of this year's 10 Most Innovative Companies in social media, which will allow it to push the confectionary-laced puzzler out through WeChat—the country's enormously popular mobile messaging platform. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Candy Crush hasn't been nearly as popular in China as in the U.S., currently sitting at number 65 in the App Store:
Though King generated $586 million in net income in 2013 on revenues of $1.9 billion, China could offer a new source of growth for the company. The size of China’s mobile-games industry could double this year to 22 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), and continue growing at a rate of 60% for the next three years, according to CLSA analyst Elinor Leung.
WeChat is a bit like Facebook, but for smaller circles of friends. It does, however, command an enormous slice of the Chinese market, with more than 400 million users. Per the Journal, Tencent began featuring games through WeChat last year, and currently has four of the top five grossing iOS games in the country.