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NetEase, Inc.
Company typePublic
FoundedJune 1997; 27 years ago (1997-06)
FounderDing Lei
HeadquartersHangzhou, Zhejiang, China[1]
Key people
Ding Lei (CEO)
ProductsOnline services
RevenueIncrease CN¥ 59.24 billion (2019)[2]
Increase CN¥ 13.79 billion (2019)[2]
Increase CN¥ 21.43 billion (2019)[2]
Total assetsIncrease CN¥ 112.12 billion (2019)[2]
Number of employees
18,129 (December 2017)[3]
DivisionsNetEase YanXuan
NetEase Cloud Music
NetEase Games (Thunder Fire)
NetEase Games (Interactive Entertainment)
NetEase D&R Center Lab
NetEase Wisdom Enterprise
NetEase News
SubsidiariesSee § Development studios

NetEase, Inc. (simplified Chinese: 网易; traditional Chinese: 網易; pinyin: Wǎngyì) is a Chinese Internet technology company providing online services centered on content, community, communications, and commerce. The company was founded in 1997 by Ding Lei. NetEase develops and operates online PC and mobile games, advertising services, email services, and e-commerce platforms in China. It is one of the largest Internet and video game companies in the world.[4] NetEase has an on-demand music-streaming service (NetEase Music). The company also owns several pig farms.[5]

NetEase video games include, the Westward Journey series, Tianxia III, Heroes of Tang Dynasty Zero, Ghost II,[6] Nostos and Onmyoji. NetEase has partnered with Blizzard Entertainment to operate Chinese versions of their games, such as World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and Overwatch from 2008 to 2023.[7][8][9] In August 2023, NetEase launched an American studio led by Bethesda and BioWare veterans.[10]


The company was founded in June 1997 by Chinese entrepreneur Ding Lei, and grew rapidly due in part to its investment in search engine technology.[11] In 2012, the company's official English name was changed from NetEase.com, Inc to NetEase, Inc.[12]

Early in the company's history, top executives quit amid possible advertisement revenue misreporting[13] and buy-out talks with i-Cable Communications and others were reported.[14]

In 2008, the 163.com domain attracted at least 1.8 million visitors annually according to the Compete.com survey.[15] In 2010, the site was the 28th most visited site in the world according to Alexa Internet rankings.[16] NetEase's official website address is 163.com. This was attributed to the past when Chinese internet users had to dial "163" to connect to the internet, before the availability of broadband internet.[17][18]

Tencent sued NetEase alleging copyright infringement in 2014.[19]: 102  Tencent used its leverage from the suit to convince NetEase to sublicense music rights from Tencent.[19]: 102  The sub-licensing arrangement that resulted then became a model used by other online music platforms in China.[19]: 102 

NetEase is the largest provider of free e-mail services in China with over 940 million users since 2017. The company also ran 188.com and 126.com.[20]

The company operates a news website at news.163.com[21] along with an associated app.[22] Riot Games sued NetEase over alleged copyright violation concerning Valorant in 2022.[23][24]

Expansion and acquisitions[edit]

NetEase launched their first western headquarters in August 2014, bringing one of the largest tech companies from China to the United States.[25] In January 2020, NetEase discussed secondary listings with the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.[26]

In 2018, NetEase invested US$100 million into Bungie for a minority stake in the company and a seat on its board of directors.[27] In December 2018, NetEase invested in New Zealand developer A44 (also known as Aurora 44),[28] and it sold the comics business to Bilibili.[29] NetEase obtained a minority stake in Quantic Dream for an undisclosed investment in 2019.[30]

In June 2020, NetEase established Ouka Studios, sometimes referred to as Sakura Studios, to develop next-generation console games.[31] The developer has offices in both Guangzhou, China and Shibuya, Tokyo.[32]

NetEase acquired Grasshopper Manufacture from GungHo Online Entertainment in October 2021, incorporating the developer within the division.[33]

In May 2022, NetEase established Jackalope Games, the first American studio in Austin, Texas. It was founded by former Daybreak Game Company employee Jack Emmert.[34]

Toshihiro Nagoshi, Daisuke Sato and several other former Sega employees, established a new studio called Nagoshi Studio, which is the part of their subsidiary.[35]

In July 2022, NetEase established Jar Of Sparks. It was founded by former 343 Industries employee Jerry Hook.[36] Polish VR studio Something Random announced that it had received an investment from NetEase.[37]

In August 2022, NetEase announced the acquisition of Quantic Dream after the 2019 minority investment done in the company. After this, the studio became a subsidiary part of its parent company and had NetEase objective to have more console game releases.[38] Something Wicked Games founder Jeff Gardiner announced that NetEase had invested $13.2 million for the studio.[39]

In October 2022, NetEase established a development company GPTRACK50 Studio, focused on console releases and led by former Capcom producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi.[40]

In November 2022, NetEase announced that it had invested in Polish studio Rebel Wolves founded by Konrad Tomaszkiewicz,[41] and the Norwegian fitness startup PlayPulse.[42] The Stockholm-based studio Liquid Swords announced that NetEase had acquired a minority stake in the company.[43]

In January 2023, NetEase acquired the Canadian studio, Skybox Labs.[44]

In February 2023, NetEase established a studio, Spliced. NetEase established a video game company Studio Flare in Gotanda, Tokyo. It was founded by former Marvelous vice-president Toshinori Aoki, and former Arc System Works chief development officer and BlazBlue game designer Toshimichi Mori.[45]

In March 2023, NetEase launched the Anici anime brand to "support the anime industry", delivering a variety of animation together with various partners.[46]

In April 2023, NetEase established Anchor Point Studios in Barcelona.[47]

In May 2023, NetEase established Bad Brain Game Studios in Canada, with offices in Toronto, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec. The studio is led by Watch Dogs and Driver: San Francisco game producer Sean Crooks. He is joined by a team of veteran developers who have worked on Far Cry 2, Child of Light, Just Dance, Army of Two, Splinter Cell: Conviction and Splinter Cell: Blacklist.[48] That same month, NetEase Games established PinCool, a video game studio in Tokyo, led by representative director and president, and Dragon Quest producer Ryutaro Ichimura.[49]

In August 2023, NetEase established T-Minus Zero Entertainment. It is working on the online multiplayer-focus sci-fi action game.[50]

In November 2023, NetEase established Fantastic Pixel Castle. It was founded by former Blizzard Entertainment lead systems designer Greg Street.[51] NetEase also established a studio Worlds Untold, founded by Mass Effect game writer Mac Walters with the first project being a near-future action adventure game.[52]

In February 2024, NetEase opened the Austin-based BulletFarm headed by Call of Duty veteran David Vonderhaar. The studio is working on a AAA co-op game using Unreal Engine 5.[53]


The company has a history of partnerships with other companies. Blizzard Entertainment partnered with NetEase to bring some of their games to the Chinese market in 2008.[54] NetEase and Blizzard announced the suspension of most game services within Mainland China by January 2023 due to the expiration of current licensing agreement.[8] According to NetEast's statement on 17 November 2022, Overwatch 2, Diablo III, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, no longer received service in mainland China on 23 January 2023, and was not renewed.[9]

In April 2012, NetEase began testing a restaurant recommendation mobile app called "Fan Fan".[55][56] In 2017, NetEase made an agreement with the American company Marvel Comics to develop a comic based on a Chinese superhero. In addition, 12 comic copies by Marvel would be released online, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy.[29]

The company collaborated with coursera.org to provide Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in China.[57] In 2014, NetEase launched an online course platform with educational content.[58]

Chinese government regulation[edit]

In October 2020, the Cyberspace Administration of China ordered NetEase to undergo "rectification" and temporarily suspended certain comment functions after censors found "inappropriate" comments on its news app.[59]

Gamers trying the new release of Speedy Ninja at PAX 2015


NetEase publishes many games, including Fantasy Westward Journey, Cyber Hunter and Identity V.

Year Title Developer Publisher Notes
2001 Fantasy Westward Journey NetEase Games NetEase Games
2002 Westward Journey Online II NetEase Games
2015 Revelation Online NetEase Games
2017 Rules of Survival NetEase Games Discontinued on 27 June 2022
2018 Creative Destruction NetEase Games Discontinued on 27 June 2022
Galactic Frontline NetEase Games Online title. Closed after 2019.[60]
Identity V NetEase Games
LifeAfter NetEase Games
2019 Cyber Hunter NetEase Games
Sky Thatgamecompany Publisher in China only
Marvel Super War NetEase Games
Super Mecha Champions NetEase Games
2020 Marvel Duel NetEase Games
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night ArtPlay Android and iOS ports
2021 Ace Racer NetEase Games
Naraka: Bladepoint 24 Entertainment
Astracraft NetEase Games Discontinued on 21 December 2022
The Lord of the Rings: Rise to War NetEase Games Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
2022 Diablo Immortal NetEase Games, Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment
Eggy Party NetEase Games NetEase Games
Hyper Front NetEase Games, BattleFun Games
Lost Light NetEase Games
2023 Dead by Daylight Mobile Behaviour Interactive, NetEase Games Behaviour Interactive, NetEase NetEase as Publisher China only
2024 Bloodstrike NetEase Games NetEase Games Available on iOS, iPadOS, Android and Windows
Once Human NetEase, Starry Studio NetEase Games, Starry Studio Available on Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows
TBA Marvel Rivals NetEase Games NetEase Games
Racing Master Dahua Studios, Codemasters
Tom and Jerry: Chase NetEase Games
Harry Potter: Magic Awakened NetEase, Envoy Games NetEase Games, Portkey Games, Envoy Games
Where Winds Meet Everstone Studio NetEase Games
Project: BloodStrike NetEase Games
Project: E.O.E
Project: EXTREME
Project Mugen NetEase Games, Naked Rain

Licensed online games[edit]

  • Three-year agreement to license Blizzard's title Overwatch in PRC[61]
  • Agreement to license Mojang's Minecraft and Minecraft: Pocket Edition in China[62]
    • Operated the Chinese third-party Minecraft Hypixel server (which shut down)[63]
  • Assumed the publishing of Eve Online in the Chinese market starting in October 2018[64]

Development studios[edit]

Studio Location
NetEase Games Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, China
Ouka Studios Tokyo, Japan and Guangzhou, China
Grasshopper Manufacture Tokyo, Japan
Nagoshi Studio
Studio Flare
NetEase Games Tokyo
GPTRACK50 Studio Osaka, Japan
Quantic Dream Paris, France
Jackalyptic Games Austin, Texas, USA
T-Minus Zero Entertainment
Jar of Sparks Seattle, Washington, USA
Anchor Point Studios Seattle, Washington, USA and Barcelona, Spain
NetEase Games North America Los Angeles, California, USA
NetEase Games Montreal Montreal, Quebec, Canada
SkyBox Labs Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Bad Brain Game Studios Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Worlds Untold Vancouver, Canada
Spliced Manchester, UK
NetEase Games Korea Seongnam, South Korea
Fantastic Pixel Castle Remote studio


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External links[edit]

  • Official website Edit this at Wikidata
  • Business data for NetEase: