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Intel targets China's online gamers

The chipmaker will work with Shanghai-based Shanda Networking to develop interactive entertainment for Intel-based PCs, phones and set-top boxes.

Chip giant Intel has teamed up with China's largest online game provider for a piece of the action in the country's booming market for games.

Intel and Shanda Networking have signed an agreement to develop interactive games and entertainment for various Intel-based devices, including PCs, mobile phones and TV set-top boxes, according to a joint statement.

In addition, the companies said they will set up a game-testing and innovation center on China's mainland.

"Intel's collaboration with Shanda will create immersive entertainment experiences for consumers, which will in turn help drive PC and broadband usage in China," said John Antone, vice president and general manager of Intel's Asia-Pacific sales and marketing group.

According to statistics released by the Chinese government, the local online-game market was worth $159 million (1.32 billion yuan) in 2003. This is expected to swell in the coming years. Research company IDC expects China to have 54 million gamers and 187 million Internet users by 2008.

One beneficiary of this growth has been Shanghai-based Shanda. The company recently raised $152.4 million in an initial public offering. The company operates the hugely popular game "Legend of Mir II," which accounted for more than half of its $29 million revenue in the first quarter.

"Shanda's goal is to become an interactive entertainment content provider with international influence," said Chen Tianqiao, the company's chairman and CEO.

Aloysius Choong of CNETAsia reported from Singapore.