Revenue from China's online gaming industry reached 8 billion yuan (US$1.04 billion) in 2006 and could quadruple by 2010 as internet access becomes more widespread.
Online gaming revenue in China will grow 30 percent annually to reach 30 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) by 2010, said Wu Shulin, the deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication, on Friday.
Statistics from the China National Network Information Center showed that the number of computers hooked up to the worldwide web had reached 59.4 million by January 2007 and there were 137 million internet surfers.
Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 account for the majority of the estimated 31 million people playing games online in China, according to US-based information technology market research house International Data Corporation (IDC). Internet cafes across the country are often packed with people playing online games till the early hours.
Previously, American and Japanese games dominated the market, but China-made online games held 65 per cent of the domestic market in 2006 and had export revenues of 20 million US dollars last year.