Tencent buys 20% stake in Korea’s PATI

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China’s Tencent has paid $20m (KRW20bn) to acquire a 20% stake in Korean mobile games producer PATI Games.

Following the deal, Tencent becomes the second largest shareholder in PATI Games, best known for its social network game I Love Coffee, in which users run a virtual cafe with social network friends.

PATI Games is planning to go public on Korea’s KOSDAQ market, and with the Tencent investment, is expected to expand into overseas mobile game markets.

Lee Dae-hyung, CEO of PATI, said: “I’m thrilled to have a new growth momentum with Tencent’s investment amid a situation of ever-fierce mobile game competition. We expect the capital infusion will strengthen our mutual relationship.”

All three of China’s internet heavyweights, Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent, have been on a spending spree as competition increases and they expand into each other’s core business areas. Mobile, in particular, is seen as the new battleground as China’s internet audience moves away from PCs to tablets and phones.

Earlier this year, Tencent paid $500m for a 28% stake in Korea’s CJ Games. In 2012, the Chinese internet giant teamed with Korean online games developer Wemade Entertainment to invest in mobile messaging app Kakoo Talk.