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China’s NetEase in Talks to Hire Creator of Sega Yakuza Series

  • NetEase and Tencent using Japan to seed international growth
  • Toshihiro Nagoshi led creation of globally popular franchise
Toshihiro Nagoshi
Toshihiro NagoshiPhotographer: Daniel Pearce/Edge Magazine/Future/Getty Images

NetEase Inc. is in final negotiations to poach Yakuza franchise creator Toshihiro Nagoshi from Sega, a sign of how Chinese games companies are expanding beyond their home turf during a government-led crackdown.

The hire from Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. would mark the biggest coup in a contest between NetEase and close rival Tencent Holdings Ltd. to scoop up video game talent and assets in Japan, made more urgent by slowing growth and regulatory pressure at home.