Thanks to EvilAvatar for linking to a ChinaDaily.com article discussing the further rise of online gaming in China
. According to the story, "the All China Sports Federation recently recognised video gaming as a sanctioned sport"
, and it's also noted that "the China Center of Information Industry Development (CCID) estimates that there were 19 million online gamers in China at the end of 2003. This year the number of users is predicted to explode to 32 million and will continue growing to 48 million by 2005."
Notably, it's also revealed that China's leading MMO title, "The Legend of Mir II has an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 ACUs [Average Concurrent Users], attracting some 650,000 simultaneous users during peak times. The [Chinese distribution] firm's owner, Chen Tianqiao, is listed as China's second richest IT entrepreneur, with a cool RMB 4 billion [$500 million] in the bank."