Outblaze gets fired up for mainland expansion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 December, 2011, 12:00am


Outblaze Ventures, one of the world's leading mobile application developers and publishers, plans to expand on the mainland after obtaining an undisclosed amount of new funding from venture capital firms Intel Capital and IDG Accel.

The privately held Hong Kong company, more widely known by its brand name, Animoca, expects to double the size of its 70-member application development team by early next year to meet growing consumer demand worldwide for applications used on smartphones and in social media networks.

Founder Yat Siu, who also established namesake internet company Outblaze in Hong Kong in 1998, said Animoca had released more than 200 applications that generated millions of dollars in revenue globally.

'We have a significant business and it is growing rapidly,' said Siu, referring to the mobile applications firm he founded in January this year.

He said Animoca needed to set up additional facilities to develop more applications, but was struggling to find such a space in Hong Kong. That is why the company needed to expand on the mainland, one of its largest markets in terms of application downloads and a vast source of talented developers.

'Our heart and soul is in Hong Kong, but demand is there in the mainland,' Siu said.

Based at Cyberport in Pok Fu Lam, Animoca created the popular Pretty Pet games franchise that has been downloaded more than 7 million times and achieved Top-10 ranking in dozens of markets on Apple's online App Store since it was introduced on January 26. The firm has extended its offerings to the Google-developed Android Market.

Siu said Animoca's other popular market segment is in 'edutainment' applications under its 'Baby Cortex' line, such as Alphabet Car and Baby Piano. On social network giant Facebook, Animoca has several million active monthly users of its popular applications, such as Who Loves You More and My Friend Map.

Market research firm Gartner has forecast worldwide mobile application store sales this year to surpass US$15.1 billion, including revenue from paid applications and advertising generated by applications for their developers. That is a 190 per cent increase from last year.

Intel Capital said it made US$40 million worth of investments last month in 10 Asian companies, including Animoca.