According to Caixin Global, Tencent is planning to expand the eSports industry in China on a massive scale by the year 2022. The Chinese firm released a detailed five-year plan at a news conference last Friday that claims the industry could net more than 100 billion Chinese yuan.
The primary strategy behind the new plan revolves around establishing more eSports leagues and tournaments around the country, as well as organizations that will help orchestrate and organize said leagues and tourneys. Down the road, Tencent also wants to build “eSports-themed industrial parks” as a way of training and nurturing new players. Several stadiums and training facilities are to be built around China.
Tencent believes China is capable of becoming the center of the eSports world. By the end of 2017, the firm estimates that the country could be home to 220 million eSports players, which would account for about 65 percent of the 335 million players expected to be active around the world by 2018.
Gao Li, Tencent’s eSports general manager, went on to detail some of the partnerships already in place that are expected to help grow China’s eSports revenues. Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo is one of the companies involved. Vivo is going to launch a special smartphone customized specifically for professional players that play Tencent’s game, King of Glory.
Tencent also says it has the support of sports authorities from all over China. They are working to “establish unified standards for the industry and platforms for professional game players.”
Tencent isn’t exactly new to any of this. They infamously bought the rights to Riot Games, the developers of League of Legends, back in 2015. Last week, they reportedly attempted to acquire Rovio, the developer that created the Angry Birds franchise. Tencent also has major ties with Activision, Supercell and Epic Games.
China saw massive growth in the eSports industry from 2015 to 2016. In one year alone, the country’s eSports revenue jumped 52% to 50 billion yuan last year. Live streaming was the primary reason for the huge surge in revenues, as major leagues and tournaments relied on big-time viewership via live streaming apps and services.
The value of tournament sponsorship deals has also increased, which is another aspect of the huge revenue hike. Fees for live streaming players and broadcasters have risen dramatically, according to Tencent.
The League of Legends Pro League, which is China’s top professional eSports outfit for that game, garnered a total of five billion viewers in 2016 alone. King of Glory lured 15 million viewers on the opening day of its most recent tournament, as well.
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