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Over the past week, the esports industry in China has begun preparations to celebrate the Chinese Spring Festival (or more commonly known as the Chinese New Year) by hosting multiple annual company conferences and summits. Meanwhile, TJ Sports announced new business and media rights partners for the 2020 League of Legends Pro League (LPL) Spring Split, which kicked off Jan. 13.
Among the top stories: The China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association hosted the Chinese Esports Industry Annual Summit in Chengdu and confirmed three esports professions with China Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (CMHRSS); TJ Sports added Douyu, Huya, Bilibili, and other media rights partners to the LPL; Chinese film star Han Lu invested in esports organization Tianba; and FunPlus Phoenix suspended its PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (PUBG) division.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
CCEA Hosts Chinese Esports Industry Annual Summit in Chengdu, Confirms Three Esports Professions
On Jan. 13, the China Ministry of Civil Affairs managing association, the China Culture & Entertainment Industry Association (CCEA), and the Chengdu government hosted the 2019 Chinese Esports Industry Annual Summit in the city. Multiple governmental representatives and executives from esports companies attended the summit including Ming Li, senior vice president of Perfect World; Miao Hou, managing director of Tencent Esports; Qidong Chen, founder of Fighting Esports Group; multiple representatives from livestreaming platforms Douyu, Huya, and Bilibili; and esports teams FunPlus Phoenix and QG.
During the conference, CCEA and the China Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (CMHRSS) confirmed three esports professions: “esports professional,” “esports team manager,” and “esports tournament operator” in the country, alongside seven industrial professions. In 2019 CMHRSS, on a preliminary basis, confirmed two esports professions – esports professional and esports operator.
In addition, CCEA announced that the government will “double down” on the investigation and research of esports related jobs including 15 professions in six areas: tournament operation, events, esports teams, livestreaming platforms, media content creation, and other derivatives.
According to the presentation at the summit, Chinese production company Fighting Esports Group (FEG), livestreaming agency BGoose Culture, and esports education company Dido Esports worked with CCEA in 2019.
TJ Sports Adds Douyu, Huya, Bilibili, and More Media Rights Partners in LPL
On Jan. 11, TJ Sports announced the list of LPL media rights partners for 2020, including Douyu, Huya, Bilibili, Kuaishou, social media Weibo, Such Sport, and two Tencent-owned media companies – Penguin Esports and Tencent Sports.
It should be noted that, according to the announcement, Penguin Esports received the “S Level” media rights designation from the LPL. Penguin Esports told The Esports Observer that there are three levels of media rights in the LPL: “S,” “A,” and “B,” and the company with “S Level” media right can open its own stream of LPL events in 2020 (known as the second stream) with its own top streamer as a shoutcaster. Other details on media rights partners were not disclosed.
On Jan. 10, TJ Sports announced the commercial partnership list for the LPL 2020 Spring Split. The 13 partners signed for 2020 include head partner Mercedes-Benz; strategic partners Nike, Chinese diary brand Momchilovtsi, and Harbin Brewery; official partners KFC, CLEAR, Chinese drink brand Wahaha, energy drink brand Warhorse, OPPO, and SPD Bank credit card; and equipment partners HP OMEN, gaming chair brand AutoFull, and Intel.
Chinese Actor Han Lu Joins Tianba Board
On Jan. 10, esports organization Tianba announced that Chinese actor Han Lu was added to the company’s board of directors. Han is one of the most influential actors in China at the moment and has a social media footprint of around 61.2M followers. The company also rebranded after Han joined the board.
Tianba was founded by Quan Shuang and Chinese actor He Chen in 2018, and competes in PUBG and Peacekeeper Elite. Quan is also the co-founder of LPL team LNG Esports. This is not the first time Han has showed interest in esports and PUBG; he used to own a PUBG team called Lstars, which represented China and qualified in the PUBG Aisa Invitational (PAI) in January of 2019 (the team was later disbanded in June of that same year).
Other Esports Business News:
- On Jan. 8, Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming partnered with livestreaming agency BGoose to build a joint Honor of Kings team called LGDAE that will compete in Tencent’s King Pro League (KPL). LGD Gaming told The Esports Observer that the two companies will invest ￥80RMB ($11.6M USD) into the team. Other media outlets called LGDAE “LGD.BGoose,” which was incorrect.
- On Jan. 10, Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) announced that the company had suspended operations of its PUBG division. The reasons behind this suspension were not disclosed at the time of writing. FPX won the 2019 League of Legends World Championship in Paris.
Disclosure: Hongyu Chen is a part-time employee of Dido Esports.
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