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In China last week, esports organization AG won the grand prize at the King Pro League (KPL) Fall Split Grand Finals, taking home a ¥3M RMB ($430K) share in prize money from a $1.14M pot. In addition, the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) welcomed its 17th franchise team eStar, and LPL player Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang (one of this year’s League of Legends World Champions) became the first player to be granted residency in China’s top league, originally joining as an import player from South Korea.
Among the top stories: Tencent won an esports media rights lawsuit against livestreaming service Panda Interactive Entertainment; People Esports partnered with the Beijing-Haidian and Guangxi governments; and Tencent lit up buildings in Shanghai, Chengdu, and Wuhan in promotion for the KPL Fall Split Grand Final.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
FPX Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang Becomes the First LPL Resident Player, Plans to Become Chinese Citizen
On Dec. 12, TJ Sports announced that League of Legends player Kim “Doinb” Tae-sang had officially joined LPL as a resident player. Tae-sang will consequently lose his League of Legends Champions Korea (LCK) residency identity due to rules on players only having one resident identity at a time.
Tae-sang is a South Korean player currently signed to esports organization FunPlus Phoenix, the winner of 2019 League of Legends World Championships. It should be noted that Tae-sang is the first foreign player to have been given LPL residency by the league’s operator, TJ Sports. Compared to the North American and European League of Legends, rules on attaining permanent residency status are much stricter in China.
Tae-sang also said in an interview with CCTV that he has been applying for his Chinese green card since 2016, and expects to become a Chinese citizen in the future.
Tencent Wins Esports Media Right Lawsuit Against Panda TV
On Dec. 15, the Nanshan District People’s Court of Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, officially ruled on a lawsuit between Tencent and Panda Interactive Entertainment—the parent company of livestreaming service Panda TV.
According to the judgment, the core dispute of the lawsuit is the CrossFire tournament media rights partnership for a deal in 2017. Panda Interactive Entertainment was ordered to pay Tencent a total of ¥3.6M ($520K) in compensation within ten days from the ruling, including a ¥3M ($430K) license fee, and a ¥600K ($90K) default.
In March, Panda TV filed for bankruptcy; one of the biggest business stories in China for that month, and also a shock due to the president of the company, Wang Sicong, being the only son of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin, the founder and president of Dalian Wanda Group. Sicong owns 40.07% of Panda Interactive Entertainment’s shares, and is also the founder of Chinese esports organization Invictus Gaming and production company Banana Culture.
People Esports Partners with Beijing-Haidian and Guangxi Governments
On Dec. 14, Chinese esports publication and tournament organizer People Esports announced that it has signed separate partnership deals with the Beijing-Haidian and Guangxi governments. According to the announcement, People Esports will help the Beijing-Haidian government to build its gaming design incubator and open an operating office in Guangxi.
People Esports told The Esports Observer that its tournament brand People Premier League (PPL) has been recognized by the Guangxi government, which will help promote this tournament in the province.
People Esports is a division of Chinese news publication People.cn. In September, the organization partnered with Japanese game publisher Capcom to host a Street Fighter V competition called “PPL Fighter Master CAPCOM Pro Tour 2019” in Shanghai with a $13.25K total prize pool. The competition was sponsored by the Chinese technology company Xiaomi and Intel.
Other Esports Business News:
- On Dec. 14, the KPL Fall Split Grand Final concluded in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Esports organization AG won the competition and took home $430K in prize money. Before the competition, Tencent lit the Shanghai Global Harbor Twin Towers, Chengdu Panda Tower, and buildings in Wuhan Changjiang Zhuzhou.
- On Dec. 12, TJ Sports announced that Wuhan-based esports organization eStar passed the bidding process for the LPL. The team will join the LPL beginning with the 2020 Spring Split.
- On Dec. 15, a new self-described Global Esports Federation (GEF) was launched in Singapore. Tencent Esports is listed as a global founding partner, and Cheng “Edward” Wu, the vice president of Tencent Holdings and CEO of Tencent Pictures, was named as vice-president of the GEF.
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