It Started with a Game

The Creation of Shanda Games

We dreamt of a world where people could exist and interact virtually; one that is fun and entertaining. So in 1999, we introduced an online game with the ambition of connecting gamers in China using the Internet.

The Challenge


In 1999, the Internet was only just getting started.

Household PC penetration was only 2.5% and network access was unavailable to most people. We needed to enable access to PCs and the Internet.


And there was another problem.

There was no online payment mechanism. PayPal and AliPay didn’t exist and less than 1% of the population had access to credit or debit cards. credit or debit cards

So we built a network of


Internet cafés nationwide, providing players easy
access to PCs and the Internet.


We adopted pre-paid cards so gamers could easily make payments.

And by developing a nationwide network of


point-of-sale outlets,

gamers could buy our pre-paid game cards wherever they were.

China’s First Internet Giant

In 2004, Shanda became the first Chinese online games company listed in the U.S. (Nasdaq: SNDA).

This was the largest U.S. IPO of a Chinese Internet company at that time.

Shortly after the IPO we became the largest Internet company in China by market capitalization.

We Learn. We Innovate. We Never Stop.

We wanted to increase the size of the addressable market so in 2005, we turned our pay-to-play revenue model into a Freemium model which later became the global industry standard.

Wall Street Didn’t Understand Initially

After the freemium announcement, SNDA’s share price fell more than 70% from its previous high.

But we stayed the course and went on to deliver 15 quarters of double-digit revenue growth.


The Legend of Shanda

Our drive to identify and solve problems through innovation never stops.

Even with our success, we saw that unpredictability was inherent to the industry at the time and turned our focus to the next challenge. Was there a way we could guarantee the success of new titles?

The answers shaped the next chapter of our story: Shanda Literature