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Com2us looks to acquisitions, partnerships for global expansion

 Top mobile gamer to boost publishing, reenter Europe

Com2us may not be as big as NCsoft, Neowiz or Nexon, Korea’s best-known gamers. But Com2us had a head start in the mobile gaming market, and being first is everything in today’s fast-changing mobile technology landscape.

Com2us chief financial officer Choi Baek-yong said that acquisition is part of plans to maintain its edge in the market that is bound to become more competitive as big online gamers enter the mobile scene.

“We are interested in seeking small promising gamers for acquisitions or equity investment as part of expansion,” Choi told The Korea Herald.

“Although the market is going to get tougher amid the burgeoning of open-source platforms, there will be a lot of opportunities for us to grow further in the mobile space compared with online and game consoles.“

He reiterated that the company is not for sale, and rumors, including that it could be a takeover target of Samsung Electronics last February, are all groundless.
Choi Baek-yong
Choi Baek-yong

Com2us, whose games such as “Tiny Farm” and “Pro Baseball” rank among the most popular in Korea, foremost seeks to boost its publishing business going forward.

With its overseas subsidiaries in the U.S., Japan and China, the company will seek to create the “next big title” by partnering with potential third-party gamers, maximizing Com2us’ own “Hub” platform and its relations with open-source operators such as Apple and Google.

“We can’t develop hundreds of games on our own,” Choi said. “A win-win partnership would help the company increase its lineup.”

This year, it plans to release more than 40 games, of which two-thirds are self-developed, while the rest, which had been developed by third parties, will be published by Com2us. Com2us had 18 games in 2011.

This is in line with efforts to achieve sales of some 55 billion won ($48 million) in 2012, up 53 percent from 36 billion won last year. It aims to generate nearly 70 percent of sales overseas in markets such as the U.S., Japan and China, up from 49 percent last year, Choi said.

In preparation, it has increased the number of its developers to some 400 from 170, and Choi mentioned that it does not need to raise capital for expansion in the immediate future as the company has sufficient cash.

Another challenge ahead for Com2us is re-entering the European market, Choi said, adding that it would look at strategic options including joint ventures or strategic partnerships.

The company tried to establish itself in the U.K. in the early 2000s during the feature phone era, but did not quite make it, Choi explained. However, it sees an opportunity now thanks to smartphones and open-source platforms.

It also plans to relocate its headquarters from Seoul to the new town of Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province, to accommodate its growing workforce and operations, he noted.

“Expansion also points to boosting social contribution, including scholarships for students studying mobile technology,” said Choi, who wants to gradually increase its donations as the company gets bigger.

Last year, it donated 80 million won to Japan following the March earthquake.  

By Park Hyong-ki (