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London's Tech City welcomes first Chinese tenant

Gaming giant Rekoo sets up European HQ in Silicon Roundabout

Old Street Roundabout, credit Wikimedia

London’s Tech City hub has welcomed its first company from mainland Chinese to Silicon Roundabout, with the news that gaming biz Rekoo is setting up its European HQ there.

Rekoo, which was founded in 2008, describes itself as Asia’s “largest social games developer” and outside of its Beijing headquarters already boasts offices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Tokyo.

There are no handy up-to-date stats but as of a year ago it had around 200 million users and in the region of 20 million active daily users, providing phone and PC games for markets in Asia and the US, Russia and Germany, among others.

Popular games produced by the firm include Sunshine Ranch, Animal Paradise and Fantasy City.

Rekoo VP Lisa Pan had the following in a canned statement picked up by The Guardian:

Companies in the UK produce very high quality games, and being in London means we can attract world-class talent and find new business opportunities with UK and European developers.

The firm will apparently start with just 10 employees in London but expects to expand that to 25 within three years.

Rekoo is also notable for being one of the first Chinese developers to sign a deal with Facebook to distribute its games on the social network.

Last year Facebook engineer David Lim revealed that despite being banned in the People’s Republic, programmers from the country represent 20 per cent of its network in Asia, more than any other country in the region.

The news of Rekoo’s arrival will be welcomed by Tech City and London mayor Boris Johnson, who has been gaffe-ing his way around the Middle Kingdom this past week on a mission to promote London as an attractive destination for Chinese businesses and students.

He was even joined by George Osborne in Beijing as the chancellor used a speech at Peking university to praise Huawei, promote British goods and services, and announce a relaxation on visa rules for Chinese visitors.

He also reiterated that there is no limit on the number of Chinese students that can come to the UK to study - all part of a renewed push to expand bilateral trade to £62.5bn by 2015.

With this warm, fuzzy messaging coming from the very top, it’s probably not long before we see more Chinese technology firms follow Rekoo’s footprints into the wilds of Old Street. ®

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