Baba Is 35-Year-Old Billionaire With Zombie and Bear Apps

Baba Is 35-Year-Old Billionaire With Zombie and Bear Apps

Naruatsu Baba, the 35-year-old founder of Japanese smartphone game maker Colopl Inc. (3668), has become one of the youngest billionaires in the world as Colopl stock leaped sevenfold since its December initial share sale.

The Tokyo-based app maker produces games such as “Catastrophic Zombies” and “Kuma’s Digging Adventure.” Baba holds a 69 percent stake in the company valued at $2.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has never appeared on an international wealth ranking.

Game app makers with hits in Japan have soared, contributing to an 86 percent advance in the JASDAQ Stock Index (JSDA) this year and minting billionaires in the world’s third-largest economy. Baba joins the ranks of GungHo Online Entertainment Inc. (3765) Chairman Taizo Son, whose bestseller “Puzzle & Dragons” generated first-quarter sales of $3.4 million a day. Son, the youngest brother of SoftBank Corp. (9984) President Masayoshi Son, is now worth $5.1 billion, up from $3.3 billion last week, according to the daily billionaires index.

“It’s a bubble market for mobile-game makers,” said Takashi Oka, an analyst at TIW Inc. in Tokyo, who rates Colopl stock “neutral plus.” “As a developer, president (Baba) probably developed games in the beginning, so with more developers it’s possible for the company to grow exponentially.”Popular Android Apps

Baba wants Colopl to produce 30 new games a year, according an interview with Social Game Report in November. The company, founded in 2008, has five titles in the world’s 32 top-grossing game apps for Google Android smartphones, including “Professional Baseball PRIDE,” “Treasure Detective” and “Dino Dominion.”

One of its free “Kuma the Bear” games has been recently downloaded more times than apps from Facebook, McDonald’s or Twitter, according to the Google play website. Colopl’s games have been downloaded 10 million times in less than a year, Baba said on his company’s website. That is equal to about 8 percent of Japan’s population.

Baba was on a business trip and unavailable to comment yesterday, according to an employee at his Tokyo office.

Colopl and GungHo games can be downloaded free. Players are encouraged to buy characters or game points to keep playing.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index is a daily ranking of the world’s richest people. In calculating net worth, Bloomberg News strives to provide the most transparent calculations available. Each Bloomberg Billionaire profile contains a detailed analysis of how that person’s fortune is tallied.

The index is a dynamic measure of the world’s wealthy based on changes in markets, the economy and Bloomberg reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York. Stakes in publicly traded companies are valued using the share’s most recent closing price. Valuations are converted to U.S. dollars at current exchange rates.

To contact the reporters on this story: Zohair Siraj in New York at zsiraj1@bloomberg.net; Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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