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With Global Ambitions, Chinese Gaming Company FunPlus Raises $74 Million

FunPlus is based in Beijing but nets 95 percent of its revenue from Europe and North America.

Funplus / Family Farm Seaside

You’ve heard of Zynga and FarmVille, but have you heard of FunPlus and Family Farm? Enough people have that the Chinese social-mobile gaming startup will announce today that it has raised a huge round: $74 million, on top of a previous $13 million raised in 2012.

Orchid Asia Group, GSR Ventures and Steamboat Ventures led the round, which will bring on new board members and lay the groundwork for recruiting. FunPlus makes three games on Facebook — Family Farm, Royal Story and Fantasy Slots — and one iOS/Android mobile title, Family Farm Seaside; all are free-to-play, and supported by players who buy in-game virtual currency and goods.

And boy, do those players spend. FunPlus’s revenue has doubled every year since 2011 and currently reports six million daily active players. In an interview with Re/code, chief strategy officer Dan Fiden said the company makes between eight cents and 10 cents in average revenue per daily active user, or ARPDAU. That means its current annual revenue would be somewhere between $175 million and $219 million, if daily revenue were stable year-round.

To put that in context, Zynga grossed $147 million in Q4 2013 off of 27 million daily active users, for six cents in ARPDAU. Fiden claimed the industry average on mobile and Facebook is about three cents to four cents.

FunPlus has about 200 employees in Beijing, 10 in San Francisco and 15 in Vancouver, but its ambitions are global: Currently, Fiden said, 55 percent of its revenue comes from Europe, while 40 percent comes from North America.

The company credits its growth to a focus on the local and regional interests of its players, a bid toward fostering “community” around the games. So, rather than just translating a game for France and Turkey, FunPlus hires French and Turkish people to come work in Beijing on “community management” and customer support teams. About 25 percent of the Chinese headcount is international, Fiden said.

Those teams work on distinct, country-specific versions of games like Family Farm, which lets them add special in-game “events” that may appeal to one country, but not another.

“We may not have an Oktoberfest celebration in the game in the U.S., but we’ll definitely have that in Germany,” Fiden said.

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