That has spawned the creation of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of online gaming factories here in China. By some estimates, there are well over 100,000 young people working in China as full-time gamers, toiling away in dark Internet cafes, abandoned warehouses, small offices and private homes.
Most of the players here actually make less than a quarter an hour, but they often get room, board and free computer game play in these “virtual sweatshops.”
“It’s unimaginable how big this is,” says Chen Yu, 27, who employs 20 full-time gamers here in Fuzhou. They say that in some of these popular games, 40 or 50 percent of the players are actually Chinese farmers.