They may have been burned by Blizzard when they lost World of Warcraft to their rival, NetEase, but The9 isn't out of the fight yet. Especially not when they've just recently backed the troubled Red 5 and Chinese developer Fire Rain with a substantial sum of money.
Gamasutra is reporting that The9 has invested 100 million RMB (14.67 million USD) into Fire Rain, however the number is unconfirmed and neither The9 or Fire Rain are confirming the exact terms of the investment. However, if these reports are accurate, The9 would now have a large majority stake in the company or may have bought the developer outright.
As to the US based Red 5 Studios, having The9 as a new backer may be keeping the studio alive. Last week, we reported that approximately 30 people had been laid off from the studio, and Kotaku has reported that the studio may have even been close to closing their doors.
Red 5 has since "re-evaluated" their position and
Update: Red 5's community manager, Matt DeWald, has gotten in contact with us to say that Red 5 is not pursing a game aimed solely at the Chinese market. Red 5's MMO will be aimed at the worldwide market.