Haikou & Sanya among six cities racing to become China’s e-sports capital

With experts estimating that global e-sports revenues could reach $1 billion for the first time this year and $3 billion by 2022, some of the biggest companies involved in video game development and game-related products are determined to carve out a slice of what is shaping up to be a very lucrative market.

With China’s e-sports market growing at a constant rate of return of 21 percent and an expected $210 million in revenues from e-sport gaming and events by 2023, China is expected to soon overtake South Korea as the second-largest e-sports market after the United States.

Currently there are an estimated 165 million e-sport fans worldwide with that figure expected to nearly double by 2021. 

According to a 2019 report, six major cities in are in the running to become the China’s e-sports capital including Haikou, Sanya, Shanghai, Chongqing, Xian and Hangzhou.

On May 7, Tencent Esports announced its plans for the “Tencent Global E-sports Annual Summit,” which took place in the Hainan Boao Asia International Conference Center, Hainan, China, in June.

In the announcement, Tencent stated:

“E-sports has entered the mid-term of its golden age. After great achievements in 2018, China has become a powerful country in the e-sports industry. The concept of e-sports can win national honor for the country.”

Alibaba are also investing heavily in e-sports and have their own e-sports tournament, which is held in different cities around China throughout the year.

In a recent interview with Jason Fung Alibaba’s global e-sports director, he stated,

“We found that promoting e-sports as traditional sports has been well-received, at least here in China.” “As part of that, we have a whole city bidding model. Whenever we have a large-scale event, such as the Global Grand Finals for China, we put it up for bid so that different cities can show their interest in hosting the event. We get support both financially and non-financially, and I think throughout the last two-and-a-half years we’ve been running the competition, we’ve gained a lot of interest from cities in China.”

Alibaba has also partnered with India’s Times Internet to become a major investor in a new e-sports analytics venture.

Vidooly, an Indian video analytics company, launched the e-sports platform last year and is currently in the midst of series C funding, through which it was has raised over $2.1m. Alibaba has contributed $2m of this total, with Times Group-owned Times Internet bringing $100,000.

The venture is intended to help brands, rights holders, game studios and broadcasters better understand the growing e-sports industry, offering market forecasts, data tracking and consumer insight tools.

US company Super League has also hinted at the possibility of holding events in China.