Chinese online game service provider Netease reported a rise in annual sales and profit driven by World of Warcraft
, which the Beijing-based company licenses from Blizzard Entertainment.
Total sales for the year ended December 31 were 5.7 billion yuan ($857.5 million), up 47 percent compared to the year prior. Annual profits were 2.2 billion yuan ($338.8 million), up 16 percent year-on-year.
Fourth quarter sales were 1.7 billion yuan ($254.5 million), up 31 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Quarterly profits were 712.5 million yuan ($108 million), up 25 percent year-on-year.
Netease CEO William Ding said fourth quarter online game revenues were "driven primarily by the Wrath of the Lich King
expansion pack launched on August 31, 2010 for World of Warcraft
Ding said that 2010 was Netease's first full year of operation of World of Warcraft
. The9 was formerly the operator for the MMORPG in China, before losing the rights
to rival Netease in 2009.
Ding also attributed the rise in sales to rapid growth of internally-developed games Tianxia II, Heroes of Tang Dynasty
and Westward Journey Online II
. In the year to come, the company plans to release "numerous" expansions for its games.