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PapayaMobile, China-based maker of a mobile social networking platform for Android phones, now has more than 25 million users, up 940 percent since January 2010, the company said today.
More than 11 million paid transactions have been made using Papaya’s virtual currency, the Beijing-based company reported. Those numbers suggest 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 letting users buy virtual currency to spend on virtual items in games.
Virtual goods have fueled huge companies on two fronts to date — in Asian social networks and on Facebook. Now the question is, can they fuel big mobile social game companies?
The Papaya network generates an average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) of $22.60 per month. 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 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 shown the fastest growth in Papaya network user numbers, 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 have played more than 874 million game sessions.
Chen said Papaya’s numbers are much better than estimated numbers 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 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.