Chinese tech giant NetEase has ploughed $50m into tech startup Improbable, pushing the value of the London-based virtual world firm to $2bn.

The investment took the form of new shares, existing shares and a "small stake" in the company, and will strengthen Improbable's competitiveness as it supplies game development technology to game-makers in Asia.

Improbable, a former City A.M. Award-winner, is now recruiting and establishing a presence in China to support "game developers of all types" who wish to use its open cloud-based technology SpatialOS. It is also actively seeking other partners in Asia.

The investment follows a recent series B round of funding totallying $502m Series B, which was led by SoftBank in May 2017. It also follows a partnership agreed by Improbable and NetEase in February 2018, where NetEase will develop and publish games built on SpatialOS.

The first game from NetEase built on SpatialOS will be announced later this year, with further game announcements to follow.

"This is just the beginning of our plan to make our SpatialOS technology more accessible to developers in China and the Asia Pacific region," the company said. "Were excited to be working with NetEase, and we cant wait to show the first fruits of our partnership soon."

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