What RPG group will be the first to penetrate the China Market? I'm not saying small bits, but really a Line of books.
Dialects in China are mostly spoken. Putonghua or Standard Speech, is pushing out the other dialects. I know this from a friend who is Chinese citizen and lives in the Philippines. the momentum towards Mandarin is natural because people want to be able to work and learn anywhere in china. Government pressures to get the law straight and easy to understand is also a factor. Countries and People who want to participate in the china market have want standardization so that they only have to learn one language instead of many.
So who will be the first to really break into the Chinese market and start growing?
Generic game Systems have the best chances because they have less and less cultural ideas infused in them and more technical and fact-like chunks. GURPS is a natural, in fact there is a GURPS lite in Simplified Chinese.
Other than contacts and marketing are problems solved by Business Savy, the Problems Faced by Game Design is how ethnocentric the system can be.
A System that more divorced from a setting speaks the language of Logic and Science. So part of the problem is a Game System that makes it easier to translate concepts without having to give the multi-cultural audience a lesson on history and context.
Looking from a more Humanistic view: a good game system can separate cultural perception of the setting from the system better because its assumptions are more empathic, and there fore more multi-cultural.
I'm beginning to realize that in order to understand other cultures better, one has to be a better role-player or empath to be able to put themselves in the other cultural perspective. This highlights how much Game and Role-playing are very seperate. There is so much Role-playing or Empathy some people are willing to exercise and there is so much Game or Structural Mental Exercise people would want out of an RPG before it stops being fun.
A Humanistic and Scientific System, can be one of those lofty goals worth aspiring towards as a Game Designer.
I'm big on RPGs are the best Educational Tool there is, as it teachers RPing which is Empathy and Games which is Rational Intelligence. There are around 10+ million taking the college entrance exams. Using that as a statistical base, for all the other ranges of incomes and peoples that can fit the possible gamer profile.
Anyway, just even selling a Basic Game System that is All Incased with Setting and Game System. Even if the cost of production, translation, publishing and distribution, and marketing were to be around $45k i think it would still make a profit. The cost would much lower if the the person who tried to do this wore all the hats and just had to pay for the marketing (x5 the cost of the product; $25k marketing). earning that $25k back would certain.
Design it as an educational product using all the studies based on the key skills RPGs emphasize and that goes a long way. If he is a Good GM and he can run in chinese thats a bonus too. Translating all the GMing Kaizen into a book is a good follow up supplementary product. If the GM knows Confucian philosophy that also helps, sell the educational aspect.