Zynga is partnering with China-based Internet giant Tencent and launching a localized version of CityVille.
As part of the partnership, Zynga is launching Zynga City, a Chinese version of its popular CityVille game, on Tencent’s platform.
For Zynga, the deal shows its potential investors it has opportunities for more growth outside of the U.S. as it prepares for an IPO. The company earlier this month filed its S-1.
The Zynga City game will be in Chinese language and will include Chinese content from traditional and pop culture.
For example, there is a “Temple of Heaven” pagoda-like building as one building that players can add. The game also includes events and competitions linked to Chinese holidays and news.
The game’s “culturally relevant game mechanics” include the ability for players to send street peddlers to visit their friend’s cities.
Zynga City will first launch in beta on Tencent’s Pengyou platform, and will later launch on its main QZone platform.
Zynga’s Beijing-based Zynga China studio, formed from the acquisition of XPD Media, is leading the development of the new localized game. The new game is part of Zynga’s strategy to build a “truly localized offering,” the company said in a statement.
Tencent is launching Zynga City through its Open Platform, which launched about a month ago.
“We are expecting that more and more international social game developers will bring their popular games to Tencent Open Platform for Chinese Internet users and this will support the rapid growth of the social game market in China,” said Lin Songtao, general manager of Tencent Open Platform in a statement.
Tencent, which operates the QQ instant messaging service, has the largest piece of the online China gaming market with 28%, according to Analysis International. In May, Tencent posted net profit that was up 61% in the first quarter. The company acquired U.S. online game company Riot Games in February as part of its expansion outside of China. In February Tencent teamed with Groupon to start a group buying website, Gaopeng.com.
Many other U.S.-based Internet companies have tried and not succeeded in China, from Yahoo to Google. A partnership strategy is how most companies have approached China, and Zynga has taken that route as well. Something to watch will be how Zynga’s game stacks up against other native China-based games.