Mobile mahjong


RIP Brian
Feb 22, 2001

PacificNet schedules product for June 15 launch

Mahjong fans headed to the Wynn Macau for the June 15 World Series of Mahjong will be the first to see the new mobile mahjong software from provider Pacific Net, according to company announcements this week.

PacificNet has been designated as the official telecom and mobile provider for the World Series of Mahjong, and will be using the event to promote the new product. The three-day World Series of Mahjong tournament between June 15-17 is expected to gather the most skilled Mahjong players in the world, competing for the Mahjong World Championship with the guaranteed minimum purse of US $1 million. The champion is guaranteed to pocket US$500 000, the largest cash prize in the history of tournament Mahjong.

PacificNet's newly launched "Mahjong Mobile Pact" is a java-based mobile game designed to help players better understand the rules of the game and to allow them to practice their Mahjong skills anywhere on a Java-enabled mobile phone. Players can download the free trial limited version of "Mahjong Mobile Pact" from various PacificNet subsidiaries, affiliates and partner companies, including PactGames, Guangzhou Wanrong, Clickcom, MOABC and iMobile.

CEO Tony Tong commented, "Being the designated telecom and mobile provider for the Mahjong competition, PacificNet is trying to push this game in every possible way in an attempt to attract players of all skill levels. With an estimated 100 million Mahjong players worldwide, Mahjong is considered to be the national pastime game of China and is the most widely played gambling game in the world, especially in China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and most Asian countries."

According to industry forecasts, mobile online games will become vastly more popular with the advent of 3G networks in China. Forecasts frequently note that online and offline mobile gaming differs greatly in terms of their service models. Online gaming uses a telecom service model earning revenues from traffic fees during play, while offline mobile gaming is simply a game application downloaded onto a handset for a small fee. The forecasts predict strong growth for WAP, JAVA and BREW, while the proportion of SMS-enabled games will drop.

With over 400 million mobile phone users, China has already become the largest mobile population in the world. Moreover, the number of mobile users is still growing rapidly and has far exceeded the number of PC based internet users, which is about 120 million, in China.

The World Series of Mahjong is a 3-day, single-elimination format tournament with a registration fee of US $5 000. Payment of the fee will guarantee a player's seat at the tables and a chance to win one of the cash prizes. Prizes will be awarded to the top 32 players.