Last week was significant for China’s esports industry. Not only did the industry witness the first offline international esports event, the $4.6M Honor of Kings World Champion Cup with a small live audience, but China’s capital city Beijing unveiled a plan to invest heavily in the city’s esports infrastructure. The announcement came from the publicity department of the Communist Party of China during the “2020 Beijing Esports” conference.
In addition, The Esports Observer interviewed former Fortnite esports players Li “XXM” Ming, and Hu “xMende” Wenchen, who accused Chinese esports organization Newbee of not paying them more than $120K USD in prize money from 2019 Fortnite World Cup. Fortnite Developer Epic Games was also busy with an in-game purchase lawsuit against Apple, which would directly affect Unreal Engine 4, Epic’s game development platform, and Tencent Games’ PUBG MOBILE and Peacekeeper Elite.
Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: China’s capital Beijing signed multiple partnerships deals with Tencent to build esports infrastructures in the city; Honor of Kings signed five of China’s top artists as brand ambassadors during the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup; Weibo signed a partnership deal with Riot Games for promoting League of Legends World Championship on Chinese social media; and Gen.G Esports opened its China office in Shanghai.
Beijing Authorities Sign Multiple Deals with Tencent, Plans to Become Esports Center Against Shanghai
On Aug.15, China’s capital Beijing hosted the “International Esports Innovation & Development” conference. As one of three major events of the “2020 Beijing Esports” series, the conference invited multiple esports leaders, executives, and politicians, including Wu Cheng, vice president of Global Esports Federation (GEF), and vice president of Tencent Holdings; Hong Xiao, CEO of Perfect World, and vice-minister of publicity department of the Communist Party of Chian.
“Hosting ‘2020 Beijing Esports’ Series is one of the major operations of Beijing to promote Chinese culture and innovation,” said Fu at the opening of the conference.
At the conference, Cheng represented Tencent to officially sign the strategic partnership deals with Beijing authorities, including Fu, and the other 10 Chinese politicians. Those deals will focus on developing esports infrastructures in the city from five aspects:
- Importing multiple international esports tournaments.
- Building more esports venues, maintaining the same scale as of the Beijing Cadillac Center, and Jing Dong Gaming (JDG) home venue.
- Partnering with multiple Beijing universities to develop esports curriculum, and offering esports-related higher education to the public and players.
- Boosting the collaboration between traditional publications/media and esports organizations to help people understand esports.
- Add Chinese culture-inspired activities to esports venues and events.
“China has become the most active esports market in the world,” Cheng said. “Esports has become a new language for China to speak with other countries.”
TS Gaming Crowned The $4.6M HoK World Champion Cup
On Aug.16, Honor of Kings’ annual event (Same as Dota 2’s The International and League of Legends World Championship), the Honor of Kings World Champion Cup (KCC) final concluded in Beijing’s Cadillac Center. Chinese esports organization TS Gaming (TS) defeated DYG in a best-of-seven game, and took home ￥13.4M RMB ($1.93M USD) in prize money, the lion’s share of a ￥32M ($4.6M) total prize pool.
KCC is China’s first offline esports event with minor live audiences, following seven months under the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the event was also a part of the “2020 Beijing Esports” Series, hosted by Tencent Games, in conjunction with Chinese tournament organizer VSPN. The event aimed to spread Chinese culture, and included performances by multiple Chinese artists and musicians, who performed Chinese culture-inspired songs, dance, and musical drama.
Yijia Zhang, Chief Brand Officer of Honor of Kings and President of KPL Union, also announced that five Chinese artists have become brand ambassadors of the game, including Kris Wu, Jackson Yee, Qian Song, Mi Yang, and Xian Li. All of them have a significant presence in the Chinese music, film, and entertainment industry. Zhang claimed that all of them will be featured at further King Pro League (KPL) events, Honor of Kings anniversary celebrations, and even in-game virtually.
Weibo Partners With Riot Games for League of Legends World Championship
On Aug. 17, Chinese social media company Weibo announced that it signed a strategic partnership deal with Riot Games, becoming the official social media partner of the 2020 League of Legends World Championship (Worlds). As a part of the deal, Weibo will have short-form video media rights of Worlds.
Weibo said it will provide massive short-form videos to promote Worlds. Those videos will include tournament clips, match replays, caster Vlog, and player’s first-perspective.
For the period ended March, Weibo recorded 550M monthly active users, according to its report.
Other Esports Business News:
- On Aug.15, the Chinese esports organization Super Valiant (SV) announced that it signed a sponsorship deal with Italian spring water brand ALPS. The ALPS logo will be featured on team jerseys. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- On Aug.16, esports company Gen.G Esports announced that it has officially opened its China office at Shanghai Jing An District, alongside TJ Sports’ production studio and Chinese esports organization Suning Esports’ headquarters. The Shanghai office is Gen.G’s third office. Other offices are in Seoul and Los Angeles.
- On Aug. 14, Chinese esports organization Invictus Gaming (IG) signed a sponsorship deal with Singapore-based gaming chair maker Secretlab. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
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