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China continues to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Jan. 31. Since the coronavirus outbreak, multiple public entertainment events and tournaments have been delayed or canceled in the country, including several esports competitions. Many esports-related companies and individuals have shown social responsibility to the world through charitable efforts, donating millions of RMB, medical goods, and materials to Wuhan and other Chinese cities.
Among the top stories: Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix donated over ￥2M RMB ($290K USD) to the Chinese city of Wuhan to combat the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, game publisher PUBG Corp. donated ￥3M ($430K), and Sun “xiaOt” Liwei, the founder of eStar Gaming, donated ￥500K ($71K); Blizzard Entertainment released new regulations in China to limit the game/screen time for Chinese youth who are under the age of 18; and Valve increased the prices of Dota 2 items sold in China due to currency exchange rates.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
Coronavirus Outbreak: FPX, PUBG Corp, and eStar Gaming Founder Donate Millions to Wuhan
In an effort to help combat the coronavirus outbreak, more esports organizations and individuals provided relief through charitable donations of money and supplies to help victims in China.
On Jan. 30, Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) announced that the organization would donate over ￥2M ($290K) and medical goods to the Chinese city of Wuhan via the Yi Foundation. “FPX is willing to take more social responsibilities,” the organization wrote in a Weibo post. In addition, the graphic accompanying the post featured all FPX League of Legends players and its coach wearing masks, along with the caption, “I suggest washing hands, and wearing mask.”
FPX was founded in 2017 and won the 2019 League of Legends World Championship in Paris. Yi Foundation is the official charity partner of the League of Legends Pro League (LPL).
On Feb. 4, South Korean game publisher PUBG. Corp also decided to donate ￥3M ($430K) to Wuhan via the Chinese Red Cross Association. According to the announcement, the company stated that “there are no country boundaries to pass love.” On Jan. 25, North American esports organization Team Liquid donated thousands of RMB.
For Wuhan-based esports organization eStar Gaming, the last two weeks have been rough. According to an interview article by People Esports, Sun “xiaOt” Liwei, former Warcraft III player and the founder of eStar Gaming, decided to donate ￥500K ($71K), 60,000 medical masks, and 10,000 pairs of medical gloves to multiple Wuhan-based hospitals.
For PUBG fans and players in China, the coronavirus has also affected the qualifier tournaments in the country. On Jan. 31, PUBG Corp. announced that the company decided to delay the 2020 PUBG Champions League (PCL) Spring Season in China. This delay is to ensure the health and safety of fans, players, and staff, according to the company.
At the time of writing, League of Legends Pro League (LPL), CrossFire Professional League (CFPL), League of Legends Development League (LDL), PUBG Champions League (PCL), and the ESL One Los Angeles Chinese qualifiers have been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak. In South Korea, the League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) has been played without a live audience, and sales of new tickets are postponed. Activision Blizzard also announced that the Overwatch League would cancel all matches that were to be played in China for February and March.
Blizzard Entertainment Releases New Regulation to Limit Game Time for Chinese Youth Under 18
On Feb. 4, game publisher Blizzard Entertainment released a new regulation exclusively in China. The regulation is based on China’s government’s national regulations for online games to limit game time for Chinese teenagers under the age of 18.
According to the announcement, Chinese players have to register their Blizzard accounts using their real name and binding national ID card number. The registering information will be sent to China’s public security organization to check.
Teenagers under the age of 18 are not able to log in to the game between 22:00 pm to 8:00 am, and if the game duration is longer than 1.5 hours, game awards will be limited. It should be noted that the regulation applies to all Blizzard’s games including Overwatch, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, DIABLO III, StarCraft II, and Warcraft III. In addition, all products share the same time-recording system.
Valve Increases Prices of Dota 2 Items in China Due to Currency Exchange Rate
On Feb. 4, game publisher Valve announced that the company has increased prices of Dota 2 items in China. Valve’s exclusive Chinese distributor Perfect World also confirmed this and posted it on Chinese social media Weibo.
According to the announcement, the reason behind this increase is due to the currency rate exchange from 1:6 (USD/RMB) to 1:7 (USD/RMB). As of this writing, $1 currently converts to ￥6.97 in China.
In fact, in August of 2019, China’s currency broke the level of ￥7 to $1 due to the ongoing trade tensions with the United States. On the other hand, due to the coronavirus, The State Council urged everyone to stay at home and not to organize and attend public events. This has led to an increase in purchases in the Chinese gaming industry, due to gaming being considered an effective and safe entertainment method at home.
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