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Last week was significant in China’s esports industry, not only because the highest prize money esports tournament- The International – began at the Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena, but also because China-based NetEase held its first mobile esports tournament in Japan.
Among the top stories: NetEase hosted the Knives Out mobile esports tournament in Japan; non-endemic brand Laoshan Brewery signed a sponsorship deal with esports organization Royal Never Give-Up’s (RNG) Dota 2 squad; Mirinda sponsored Invictus Gaming; Auto Chess received game approval in China, and esports organization MQ acquired PUBG team Xy Gaming.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China, including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
NetEase Holds Knives Out Tournament in Tokyo
On August 12, Chinese game publisher NetEase held the “荒野 (English term: Wilderness) Championship,” a mobile esports tournament featuring Knives Out, in Tokyo, Japan. Over 20 Japanese professional esports teams and 800 fans attended the tournament. Prominent Japanese gaming publications Famitsu and 4Gamer regarded this tournament as one of the top tier Japanese esports tournaments in 2019.
This is the first time that NetEase has held a mobile esports tournament outside of China. According to People Esports, an esports division of China Daily, over 500,000 players and 90,000 teams registered for the tournament between the open qualifier on May 5 and the final on August 12.
Knives Out is NetEase’s battle royale mobile game like PUBG Mobile or Peacekeeper Elite (the exclusive Chinese version of PUBG Mobile). Through Knives Out, NetEase owns a large gaming market share of Japan. According to GameLook, over 25M users registered the game in the country. In 2018, gaming research agency GameAge stated at a Japanese online games conference that there are over 34M gamers in Japan.
Laoshan Brewery Sponsors RNG Dota 2 Team for The International Shanghai
On August 15, Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give-Up’s (RNG) Dota 2 squad signed a sponsorship deal with non-endemic alcohol brand Laoshan Brewery. According to the announcement, the deal is only valid before the end of Dota 2’s The International Shanghai August 25. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal includes social media promotion and fan benefits at Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena. It should be noted that Laoshan Brewery is the only alcoholic drink available for purchase at the arena.
Laoshan Brewery is a subsidiary brand of Chinese Tsingtao Brewery Co., Ltd, which was founded in 1903 by Anglo-German Brewery Co., Ltd. On August 9, Harbin Brewery signed a partnership deal with TI Dota 2 team PSG.LGD, which is a co-branded team of European soccer club Paris-Saint Germain F.C and Chinese esports organization LGD Gaming.
Mirinda Sponsors Esports Organization Invictus Gaming
On August 15, non-endemic drink brand Mirinda signed a sponsorship deal with Chinese esports organization Invictus Gaming (IG). As part of the deal, the Mirinda logo will appear on IG’s team jersey. In addition, the two companies will provide co-branded team jackets, and operate marketing promotions on Chinese social media. Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.
In 2019 IG has made multiple partnerships and sponsorships with non-endemic brands. On July 9, IG signed a partnership deal with American car brand Chevrolet. In February, it signed a sponsorship deal with men’s skin-care brand Lab Series.
Other Esports Business News:
- On August 15, Auto Chess, a mobile auto battler game developed by Drodo Studio, received game approval by the Chinese government. This means the company can monetize the game legally. The $1M international esports competition for the game will be held in Shanghai from Oct, 25-27, and will be co-hosted by Drodo Studio, Long Mobile, and Chinese production company ImbaTV.
- On August 21, Xiao Hong, CEO of Perfect World, officially unveiled the Chinese exclusive logo and name of Valve’s digital distribution platform Steam. The name is called 蒸汽平台, which is the direct translation of the English term of “Steam.”
- On August 16, Chinese esports organization MQ announced that the company acquired PUBG team Xy Gaming. Financial terms were not disclosed. Due to this acquisition, MQ indirectly owns the slot in the PUBG Championship League (PCL), which is the top PUBG regional competition in China. According to the announcement, gaming chair brand Anda Seat is one of the sponsors of MQ.
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