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Cloud startup LiveData helps Chinese game makers go global

Company's localization support includes AI-based chat translation in 23 languages

By clicking on the chat content, players can translate conversations into their preferred language. (Photo courtesy of LiveData)

BEIJING -- China is a major games exporter, with players of its products found in dozens of countries and regions around the world.

But if Chinese game makers are to fully cultivate overseas markets, the content of their products must fit with the cultures, customs and social environments of the countries they are trying sell into.

LiveData, a startup that provides cloud services in China, helps local game makers expand overseas by making sure the content of their games and advertisements are appropriate in terms of specific countries' regulations and cultural norms. LiveData also offers real-time translation of chats between players from different countries.

With the proliferation of mobile games around the world, their social aspect has also grown. Many players value the opportunity to enjoy games together with new friends. At the same time, because religions, user preferences and cultures vary from region to region, game makers typically must conduct massive market surveys before localizing their content and breaking into overseas markets.

Du Xiaoxiang launched LiveData in 2018 to meet that demand and has since served as the company's CEO.

LiveData provides cloud services in the form of PaaS (Platform as a Service) using big data and artificial intelligence. Employees of the company have previously worked at tech groups such as Google, Tencent and Facebook. LiveData has more than 60 developers, most of whom have over 15 years of experience in their fields.

The company's main products are a system to translate chats in real time and a system to examine game content. These are designed to address three problems involved in exporting games.

First, inappropriate language is identified and blocked. Blocking inappropriate expressions related to politics, sex, physical and verbal violence, and advertising, by analyzing synonyms and identifying intentions and contexts minimizes game makers' operational risks.

Second, communication between players in spoken language is translated. LiveData currently offers smooth communication through the real-time translation of 23 languages.

Third, illegal advertising is identified. Secret code language, that uses complex contexts, symbols, charts and combinations of multiple languages, can also be identified using various technologies.

LiveData provides services for several hundred titles from more than 15 companies. Game makers can use LiveData's services through the cloud and are charged based on the volume of data they consume.

Many Chinese game makers have been punished by authorities overseas and ordered to stop distributing their products to local consumers. Although producers of game titles understand the importance of tapping into markets abroad, at times they have been reckless due to the lack of adequate systems to check images and texts, and to translate appropriately into local languages.

LiveData CEO Du is out to change that, saying, "Our excellent content inspection system aims not only to supply an environment for smooth communication but also to support the overseas expansion and long-term development of games."

Du added: "We are also considering product development plans in cooperation with game makers in the future while making technology products. The overseas expansion of Chinese games has already become an important industrywide trend. We will continue to provide efficient and stable services to (game) makers."

36Kr, a Chinese tech news portal founded in Beijing in 2010, has more than 150 million readers worldwide. Nikkei announced a partnership with 36Kr on May 22, 2019.

For the Japanese version of this story, click here.

For the Chinese version, click here.

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