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Amid the rising worries of a tech cold war between the US and China, there seems to be some good news. Video game company Roblox, most recently valued at $2.5 billion, and China's Tencent have announced a partnership.
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The two firms will create a new, jointly-owned company based in Shenzhen that will "create opportunities for local Chinese developers to leverage the global Roblox ecosystem, with the ultimate goal of bringing Roblox to China," said the announcement's press release.
“We believe technological advancement will help Chinese students learn by fueling their creativity and imagination. Our partnership with Roblox provides an engaging way to reach children of all ages across China to develop skills like coding, design, and entrepreneurship," said Steven Ma, Senior Vice President of Tencent.
In many ways, this is not a surprising initiative. Roblox now has 90 million active users and would benefit greatly from getting access to China's roughly 800 million internet users.
There is also the fact that China has strict regulations about allowing foreign firms to do business in China. Tencent would be a powerful ally to Roblox to help navigate that journey.
In the meantime, the firms are sponsoring a scholarship for 15 students from China to attend week-long creator camps at Stanford University this summer. Taught by iD Tech, the students aged 10 to 15 will create 3D worlds, learn game design, and practice programming fundamentals using the Roblox developer tools and Lua code.
“Tencent and Roblox are providing an invaluable opportunity for Chinese youth to learn at a prestigious university. We look forward to Roblox and Tencent’s continued efforts to fuel the creativity of Chinese students through local programs,” said Mr. Shang, Deputy of Peking University School of Education, and Chairman of CAET expert committee.