Electronic games developed in China helped push the gaming industry to 296.5 billion yuan ($46.6 billion) in total sales this year, according to an industry report released on Thursday.
The bulk of that — revenues for self-developed games — rose 6.51 percent year-on-year to 255.82 billion yuan ($40.17 billion) in 2021, the report said.
Additionally, the country's self-developed games increased 16.59 percent year-on-year to more than $18 billion in overseas sales this year, the report said.
It was released by the Game Publishing Committee of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association during the annual meeting of China's game industry in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
China registered 666 million gamers this year, a year-on-year increase of 0.22 percent, which is near the saturation point, the report said.
"Over the past five years, China's exports of games witnessed steady growth in downloads, service time and payments," said Zhang Yijun, vice-chairman of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.
Despite major traditional destinations, including the United States, Japan and South Korea, emerging markets have become destinations for China's game exports, the report said.
Zhang said that electronic sports — known as esports — have grown into an important new business model in the gaming market.
The esports games market in China generated 140.2 billion yuan in 2021, a year-on-year growth of 2.65 percent, Zhang said.