Esports potential to grow as Asian Games approach

2023-08-01 08:19:51China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Visitors try out games at 2023 China Joy, which opened on Friday in Shanghai. (XU PEIQIN/FOR CHINA DAILY)

China's esports industry recorded total revenue of 75.99 billion yuan ($10.6 billion) in the first half of the year and expects further growth driven by the upcoming 19th Asian Games, said experts during the ongoing 20th China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference, or China Joy, which opened on Friday in Shanghai.

Esports product sales accounted for the lion's share — 84.84 percent — of the industry's revenue in the six-month period, followed by esports livestreaming and games, said a report released by the Electronics Sports Committee of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association.

According to the report, China has 487 million esports users.

Zhang Yijun, first vice-chairman of the association, said the major esports events will unleash the industry's potential and drive further growth.

Riot Games, known as the developer of League of Legends, announced at the conference that Shanghai will host one of its biggest esports events, Valorant Masters, in 2024.

Shanghai has previously hosted popular esports events like the 2020 League of Legends World Championship.

Dylan Jadeja, CEO of Riot Games, said: "Over the past eight years, Shanghai has become an essential partner in helping us build extraordinary experiences for players worldwide. It is one of the most culturally rich and vibrant cities in the world, and home to some of the best talent in the gaming industry."

The upcoming Asian Games will make the public better acquainted with esports and boost the global development of Chinese local game developers, the report said.

"The most pivotal event in the esports industry in 2023 is the Asian Games in Hangzhou, where esports was officially included as medal games for the first time," said Robert Xiao, CEO of Perfect World. "This will undoubtedly bring many more new opportunities for the global development of Chinese esports."

The company's Dota 2 is among the eight medal esports games to make their debut at the Asian Games in September.

"As an important international sports event, the Asian Games will attract global attention, and so will the esports events in the Games," Xiao said, adding that through this opportunity, China's esports industry will see more changes and maturer development in standardization and popularization."

He pointed out that apart from drawing global attention, the Asian Games are also expected to promote global collaboration in diverse sectors including game development, content production and commercial sponsorship. Together with Dota 2, Tencent's homegrown hit King of Glory is also listed in the eight medal esports.

Sam Huang, deputy general manager of the local tech giant's TiMi E-sports Center, said: "The history of esports is not yet long, which means it is still not widely recognized. But through the Asian Games, esports can get on a big stage that is widely known at home and abroad."

The four-day exhibition attracted 338,000 visits from the audience. About 500 exhibitors from 22 countries and regions showcased their latest innovations. Big names include Tencent, Perfect World, NetEase, AMD, Qualcomm, Sony and Bandai Namco.

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