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NBA¡¯s first China mobile game attracted 100,000 users

Beijing, August 20, 2005 ¨C NBA¡¯s first China mobile game has made a success. The number of the game users reached 100,000 when the 2004-2005 NBA Finals were over, said Mtone Wireless.

Launched in April 2005, the Fantasy NBA ¡¯05 Pick ¡®N Win game was the first real-time interactive platform between NBA and its fans in China, which allowed the Chinese fans to experience the excitement of the NBA by participating directly through their mobile phones.

The game was developed by Mtone Wireless Communication Corporation, China¡¯s leading mobile online interactive entertainment service provider, and was exclusively distributed by China Mobile.

¡°The launch of the ¡®Fantasy NBA ¡¯05 Pick ¡®N Win¡¯ game,¡± said Victor Wang, CEO and President of Mtone Wireless, ¡°provides a single platform to satisfy the passion of our users for the NBA and their thirst for the latest in wireless entertainment.¡±

The game was a big hit from the beginning. Since April, thousands of NBA fans in China signed up for the game from their mobile phones. They selected a champion from the pool of NBA playoff teams based on their estimation and earned points for each game their teams won. The high-scoring players won prizes including NBA basketballs, team jerseys and basketball shoes, which were sponsored by Reebok and Spalding.

The users also obtained an access from their mobile phones to a variety of information content such as team rosters, box scores, game schedules, as well as player and team updates.

According to Mtone Wireless, more than 100,000 mobile phone users and NBA fans in China participated the Fantasy NBA ¡¯05 Pick ¡®N Win game from April to July.

The NBA offers a similar fantasy game on its website. Because of the popularity of the NBA and a high number of mobile phone users in China, however, the NBA decided to make China as the first and probably the only one market in the world to leapfrog the PC.

The Ministry of Information Industry said that China would have more than 400 million mobile phone users by the end of this year, compared to an estimated 120 million Internet users by year-end.

Meanwhile, the NBA estimates that there are over 300 million fans in the country. Most of the fans are high school and college students, who are also the main market for mobile value-added services in China.

On the launching ceremony on April 18th, Mark Fischer, managing director of NBA China, said, ¡°we are delighted to launch this interactive mobile game just in time for the 2005 NBA Playoffs. The game¡¯s wireless format allows millions of NBA fans in China to access our first-ever official fantasy game here via their mobile phones.¡±

Encouraged by the success, Mtone Wireless and the NBA plan to launch new services to coincide with the start of the 2005-2006 NBA season. A virtual manager interactive game targeted at hard-core NBA fans will allow users to assemble and manage teams based on the real life performance of NBA players. And a Pick ¡®N Win game targeted at casual NBA fans will allow users to participate through a question and answer format.

Started in Silicon Valley in 1994, Mtone Wireless Communication Corporation was the pioneer of China¡¯s SMS and WAP services in late 1990s. Now, the company provides millions of customers with a portfolio of entertainment services and specializes in mobile online games, which span across SMS, WAP, MMS, IVR and K-java platforms.

The company has built a nationwide distribution channel through partnerships with over 70 provincial mobile carriers and marketing activities in the top 200 cities in China.

The goal of Mtone Wireless is to reach every mobile phone user in China and become the largest mobile multi-user game and entertainment provider. It foster long-term customer loyalty by emphasizing subscription-based services allowing customers to socialize, communicate, compete, role play and form relationships with each other in engaging virtual environment.

Mtone provided the early WAP services to China Mobile in 2000 and created the first virtual mobile friend in 2002. The company also launched the highly successful SMS game ¡°Cell Phone¡± in 2003, coinciding the movie with the same name, which was directed by famous Chinese director, Feng Xiaogang.

Last October, Mtone Wireless launched its self-developed game, ¡°Legend of Three Realms¡±. This game is the world¡¯s first large-scale mobile online game. It attracted 150,000 registered users within four months after its official launch. In April, Mtone Wireless released an updated ¡°Legend of the Three Realms II¡±, which is supported by as many as 46 different handset models.

China¡¯s wireless value-added service is a fast-growing market. According to Shanghai-based iResearch, the market size of China¡¯s wireless value-added service of 2002 was 1.7 billion RMB, and the figure of 2004 jumped to 7.46 billion, a 339 per cent increase in two years.

IResearch estimates that China¡¯s total market size of wireless value-added service in 2005 will reach 11.07 billion RMB, among which SMS accounts for 4.74 billion RMB, WAP accounts for 1.15 billion RMB, MMS accounts for 1.8 billion RMB, wireless game accounts for 1.2 billion RMB, and IVR accounts for 2.18 billion RMB.

As the pioneer of China¡¯s wireless value-added services, Mtone Wireless is strongly confident in the tremendous potential of the Chinese market and is committed to provide the most exciting, innovative and interactive content to mobile phone users.

The cooperation between the NBA and Mtone Wireless indicates that, as the world¡¯s largest sports content provider, the NBA is as confident as its Chinese partner in the future of China¡¯s wireless market.

Victor Wang, CEO and President of Mtone Wireless, said that mobile phones, as a streaming media, are currently still restricted by the relatively small size of information storage and simplistic platform.

However, with the development of wireless telecom technology, and the upgrade of mobile phone terminals as well as the telecom network, mobile phones will eventually become a streaming media that carry enough amount of information. Wang said, with the unique interactive and wireless features, mobile phone is gradually becoming the most important new media in China.

About the NBA

Since its founding in 1946, the NBA has truly become a global phenomenon that transcends national boundaries. With 30 teams in the United States and Canada, NBA games and related programming are broadcast to 214 countries in 43 languages via 157 telecasters.

NBA is one of the largest suppliers of sports television and Internet programming in the world. Its official website, www.NBA.com, with more than half of all visits to the site coming from fans outside the United States, has nine language-specific international destinations for fans around the world. The NBA is a recognized leader in global sports marketing with 13 offices around the world.

About Mtone Wireless Corporation

Mtone Wireless Corporation is one of China¡¯s leading providers of wireless interactive entertainment services to mobile phone users in China. It specializes in providing multiple services including online multi-user gaming that drive customer to customer interactions including competition, socialization, communications, role playing all integrated into virtual environments and games. These capabilities support music, sports, humor, and other mobile entertainment applications.

Founded in Silicon Valley in 1994, Mtone Wireless has been a pioneer in China¡¯s mobile value-added services market and commercialized the first wireless stock trading system and mobile information services with China Telecom in 1998. Mtone Wireless has substantial technical experience and expertise to manage complex applications now characterizing the emerging applications. It has developed mobile applications services using WAP for information browsing, MMS for information transmission, interactive voice response (IVR) for voice and audio services and a series of multi-user games for K-java enabled handsets.

 
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