U.S. social game developer Zynga has partnered with one of China's largest Internet companies, Tencent, to bring its popular CityVille game to the country.
The two companies announced on Tuesday that a Chinese version of CityVille, named Zynga City in English, is being launched as a beta version on a Tencent social networking site.
Tencent is best known as the operator of QQ, China's most popular instant messenger, which has 647.6 million active accounts. But the company also attracts a vast number of users through its online games and social networking sites.
Zynga City will first be launched on Tencent's Pengyou platform, a social networking sites with 101 million active monthly users. Zynga City will then be launched on other Tencent platforms, including another social networking site known as QZone.
Zynga, a company based in San Francisco, has made a name for itself building games on Facebook. The company has 232 million monthly active users, with CityVille its most popular game.
The release of Zynga City comes as other foreign gaming companies are also working to localize versions of their hit games for the Chinese market.
PopCap Games is developing its Plants vs. Zombies game for the Chinese Facebook-like site Renren. The Finnish company Rovio plans to create localized versions of its Angry Birds game for mobile phones and PCs in China.
U.S. company Razer also plans to release a small portable PC in China with games developed by Tencent. The netbook-like device, called the Razer Switchblade, features a programmable keyboard that can be customized for gaming.
The companies are targeting a vast market. China has 485 million Internet users and more than 900 million mobile phone users, according to government statistics.
Zynga developed its Zynga City game through its own China studio based in Beijing, which hired local game developers and artists. The game features designs and in-game events linked to the Chinese culture.