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Over the past week, the esports industry in China saw several key developments, primarily related to Tencent. The company partnered with the Guangzhou government to announce a local esports plan, and its CEO Pony Ma highlighted the company’s support for esports in Shanghai during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference. In addition, the League of Legends Eight-year Festival will begin Aug. 6, with multiple partnership announcements planned and the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) Summer Split Grand Final launching at Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Among the top stories: The Guangzhou government announced a three-year esports plan with Tencent Esports; TJ Sports launched the League of Legends Youth Academy program to help provide a talent pool for teams; People Esports partnered with Japanese game publisher Capcom to co-host a Street Fighter V esports competition in Shanghai; Tencent Esports partnered with People Esports and hosted the Honor of Kings City tournament series Beijing Stop final at People Sports’ headquarters; and HUYA entered into a strategic partnership with DreamHack and ESL parent company Modern Times Group (MTG).
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China, including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
Guangzhou Announces Three-Year Plan to Develop Local Esports with Tencent Esports
On Aug. 30, the Guangzhou government hosted a press conference at the Guangzhou Media Port, announcing a three-year esports plan for the city. Multiple executives and leaders from Tencent Esports, NetEase, and Huya attended the conference, as well as Guangzhou politicians and Chen “Mouse” Haoyu, a professional League of Legends player from esports organization Edward Gaming (EDG).
As part of its three-year esports plan, Guangzhou is looking to build the city as a Chinese esports center with three operations:
- The Administration of Sport of Guangzhou Municipality will provide support for esports tournaments, teams, and venues, with the goal of bringing more international tournaments to the city.
- The Administration of Radio, Film, and Television of Guangzhou Municipality will partner with Hong Kong government bodies, with the goal of creating “Esports X Music” projects in the city.
- The Guangzhou Municipal Industry and Information Technology Bureau will provide support for esports-related events and activities utilizing 5G technology.
In addition, Tencent Esports also reiterated its “Tencent Esports City Development 2.0” project at the conference, in order to continually support Guangzhou to build out its esports ecosystem. The 2.0 project includes five development directions: tournaments, talent, regularization, industrialization, and culture innovation.
TJ Sports Launches Leauge of Legends Youth Academy Program
On Aug. 28, TJ Sports announced that it plans to launch a professional training program called the “League of Legends Youth Academy” in order to provide fresh player talent for China’s LPL.
According to the announcement, the League of Legends Union will partner with esports platform VARENA to host online qualifiers between Sept. 21 – Oct. 20. VARENA will pick 20-30 players from the academy ranking system to attend the offline youth academy, training players as professional esports athletes (with an emphasis on the way LPL teams play) between Oct. 25 to Nov. 23. Registered players have to be between the ages of 16-20-years-old.
It should be noted that the academy program is not only focusing on improving players’ in-game performance, but also educating them on how to become an esports athlete, according to the announcement:
“The program is also about educating the esports player should keep a positive behavior and healthy image for the public.”
TJ Sports has also put forth a number of regulations to standardize player behavior. On June 18, TJ Sports posted an official punishment announcement against four LGD Gaming players and staff involved in match-fixing, and issued a more than 10-month global ban, according to the League of Legends Global Penalty Index.
People Esports Partners with CAPCOM to Host Street Fighter V Competition in Shanghai
On Sept. 2, People Esports, a division of Chinese news publication People.cn, announced a partnership with Japanese game publisher Capcom, to host Street Fighter V competition called “PPL Fighter Masters CAPCOM Pro Tour 2019” in Shanghai between Sept. 7-8 with a $13.25K USD total prize pool.
According to the tournament website, this competition will be sponsored by Chinese technology company XiaoMi and Intel. In addition, it will be exclusively streamed on Chinese livestreaming platform Huya.
It should be noted that the winner of this competition will not only be rewarded with $7K in prize money, but also 700 official points, which may also get them a direct invitation to the Capcom Pro grand final.
Other Esports Business News:
- On Aug. 31, Tencent Esports partnered with People Esports to host the Honor of Kings City tournament Beijing Stop final at People Sports headquarters, People.cn Studio One. According to a report by Tencent Esports, the Honor of Kings City tournament series featured 77 Chinese cities with 126 competitions and 78,629 registered players. People Esports is an esports division of People Sports, a subsidiary of People.cn.
- Between Sept. 6-8, the League of Legends Eight-year Festival will be hosted at Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena. This festival includes the LPL Summer Split grand final, competitions for the third seed of LPL for 2019 League of Legends World Championship, Teamfight Tactics China grand final, and several business partnership announcements. On Sept. 1, the Chinese charity One Foundation, which was founded by Chinese film star Jet Li, claimed on Chinese social media Weibo that its partnership with LPL will be announced at the festival on Sept. 7.
- On Sept. 2, Chinese livestreaming platform Huya and Swedish media firm MTG announced that the two have entered into a binding term sheet, including a joint venture of Huya and MTG portfolio company Turtle Entertainment GmbH (ESL), which Huya will acquire a minority stake in. A day after this announcement, DreamHack and ESL revealed the new ESL Pro Tour, a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) circuit with over $5M total prize pool.
- On Aug. 30, Tencent CEO Pony Ma said that his company will fully support Shanghai’s goal of becoming a global esports city, with plans for six large tournament series in the city. Ma made his remarks at the 2019 World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, and Jack Ma, the CEO of Alibaba Group also attended the event.
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