London's Tech City welcomes its first mainland Chinese firm

Chinese Flag

London’s Tech City is getting its first mainland Chinese firm, now that mobile gaming company Rekoo is moving to the capital and building a new development team.

The company is one of China’s leading mobile game firms, with 500 employees across Asia and 20 million active daily players worldwide. As well as China, it also has a subsidiary in Japan which opened in 2009 and employs 30 people.

To begin with, Rekoo will hire 10 people to work out of its tech city offices, but plans to expand this to 25 within three years. The staff members in the new office will market the games to European consumers, but also be involved in localisation work.

“As a leading light in China’s tech scene, Rekoo’s decision is another huge boost for the capital’s digital industries,” said the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. “Making the most of the great minds, talented workforce, and market opportunities within immediate access of our Tech City makes absolute sense which is why London is fast becoming the digital capital of the world.”

As well as convincing Rekoo to come to the UK, Tech City has also been instrumental in getting it set up so quickly. The company has already appointed a European MD, Tony Hughes, and is moving into a full-service office in Shoreditch. “They just have to plug in the computers, and they’re going,” said David Slater of London and Partners, the capital’s official promotional organisation.

“This is a company with 200 million users,” Slater added. “When you’ve got a customer base like that, they can choose anywhere in the world to build their global business. They’ve chosen London, not only London but Tech City, which I think is a great vote of confidence for the Tech City initiative.”

Rekoo is one of the first Chinese companies to provide games on Facebook, a platform which is still struggling to penetrate the mainland. In its IPO prospectus last year, the social network said its market share in the country was almost zero, and home-grown alternatives like WeChat have filled in the gap.

Moving onto Facebook is evidence of Rekoo’s outward expansion, but Slater emphasises the “two way relationship” Rekoo Europe will have. “We’ve got 100 million people in asia who are potential customers for UK developed games… the opportunity it gave as a channel for UK exporters was always part of that greater plan for Rekoo.”

The company’s most popular game, Find Something, has been played by 100 million gamers, and is already available on the Android app store in the UK, France and Italy.

Powered by article was written by Alex Hern, for on Wednesday 16th October 2013 00.01 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010