The9 eyes 50% MSN China stake
Chinese online game operator The9 Limited said it plans to buy a 50% stake in MSN China from the state-owned Shanghai Alliance Investment, the Shanghai Daily reported. The9 will sign a US$100 million contract with Shanghai Alliance Investment Thursday. Microsoft and Shanghai Alliance Investment set up the 50-50 joint venture MSN China in May 2005. Rumors surfaced this month that Alliance Investment wanted to sell its stake. About 11 million people use MSN services in China. The9 is the domestic operator of the world’s most popular online game, World of Warcraft (WoW). It has attracted over 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% in the second quarter. In May, Nasdaq-listed Electronic Arts bought a 15% stake in The9.