PapayaMobile, a Chinese maker of a mobile social networking platform,? is announcing today that its users have reached more than 25 million users, up 940 percent since January 2010.
The Beijing-based company also said that more than 11 million paid transactions have occurred using Papaya’s virtual currency. Those numbers suggest that mobile app and game developers are starting to get traction on the Android platform.
Papaya makes a mobile social network for game developers to use to help their games spread faster and become more social. It helps them make money by enabling users to buy virtual currency which can be used to buy virtual items in games. One of the big questions is whether the success in Asian social games or Facebook social games — where users are now quite comfortable buying virtual goods in games — will become as popular in mobile social games on smartphones in the West.
The Papaya network generates an average revenue per paying user of $22.60 per month (ARPPU). On average, one in five users purchases Papaya’s virtual currency in social games that use the Papaya Game Engine, which is used to develop social mobile games.
Those are pretty good figures, given that mobile users have historically paid less money for games than social gamers. Papaya said that the ARPPU is more than $10 per month for social games that were built using the Papaya Game Engine. And popular titles earn more than $20,000 in revenue per month.
“We think when it comes to monetization of mobile games, we have superior metrics,” said Paul Chen, head of developer relations at PapayaMobile. “We think that mobile games are gaining in momentum as an industry.”
And, get this, the top amount spent by a single user on the Papaya network is $4,440. Yes, somebody spent that much money for virtual goods in a game. That’s what you call engagement.
By region, China has grown the fastest, with users up 500 percent from January 2011. Europe is up 224 percent and the U.S. is up 222 percent. Users have sent 93 million messages across the Papaya network and they have played more than 874 million game sessions.
Chen said that Papaya’s numbers are much better than the estimate numbers that the company’s rival, Ngmoco, has seen on the Android Market in the four weeks since it launched its Mobage mobile social network.
PapayaMobile was founded in 2008 and it has 50 employees. Rivals include Gree/OpenFeint, DeNA/Ngmoco, and RIM/Scoreloop. PapayaMobile offers its own Game Engine software development kit as well as tools to make games more social with chat and leaderboard functions. It also has a monetization engine that helps games make money via offers and other means.
The company has raised $22 million to date from DCM and Keytone Ventures. Developers have integrated the Papaya Engine into 350 games.
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