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After browsing through her pictures, it’s hard to believe that Wu “Dido” Jingjing has more than 13 years of experience working in the esports industry. Now the CEO of Dido Esports, Jingjing started her entrepreneurial journey as the interactive entertainment brand manager for Tencent Games from 2011-2017, before becoming a prestigious esports host engaged with multiple brands including Colgate, Philips, Pepsi, streetwear brand Boy London, Intel, and Samsung.
Throughout her esports career, her most notable moments include hosting the main stage for the 2009 World Cyber Games (WCG) in Chengdu, the 2017 King Pro League (KPL) Fall Season grand finals, the 2018 PUBG China Pro Invitational (PCPI), and the grand finals for the Fortnite World Cup China qualifier in July of this year.
“In the very early stages of the Chinese esports industry, I was probably one of the minority esports hosts who could actually make a living,” Jingjing told The Esports Observer. “It’s because I’m the first Chinese esports female host who connected with international brands.”
Jingjing started her journey in 2006, joining Chinese production company PLU as an esports host and shoutcaster, working on Starcraft Brood War and Warcraft III events. After two years, she joined a Shanghai-based esports production company, Gamefy, teaming up with Zhang “BBC” Hongsheng as hosting partner, and continued her hosting career from 2008-2010. Hongsheng is now the co-founder of Chinese production company ImbaTV.
“It was a really bitter but also happy time for me,” she said. “People didn’t understand why we spent time on helping people to have a good experience watching videogames, without finding a normal job. Sometimes, we didn’t know the answer either, but we were just so passionate about esports.”
Between 2006-2010, Jingjing had already become one of the most popular esports faces in China. She became the exclusive event host for Blizzard Entertainment’s Chinese events, including ChinaJoy. In 2006, Jingjing signed with Philips as a contracted model. In 2008, she endorsed Pepsi’s China professional esports league, alongside Li “Sky” Xiaofeng, a legendary WarCraft III player, who is now the current CEO of hardware company Taidu and a board member of Team WE. In addition, she was named the official host for the WCG 2009 Chengdu, the first WCG Grand Final event in China.
“WCG 2009 was a milestone in my career,” Jingjing said “WCG was the top esports tournament in the world at that time, and actually many esports fans knew my name after this event.” This was followed with hosting deals with a number of brands, including Intel, Razer, SteelSeries, Giga Byte, and Asus. In addition, Jingjing shot an advertisement for toothpaste brand Colgate, which was broadcasted on Chinese mainstream TV channels.
Speaking about how she was able to engage so many brands, Jingjing said it all came from her passion for esports, hard work, and research. “For every tournament or brand, I will have my own study plan. I need to know not only the game, but also the background story of the brands, and the feedback from their users. I’ll find some exclusive surprise points, show audiences what the brand value is, and connect those brands and their users.
“A good host is always humble,” she added. “Every move you make is not only about the sponsor or tournament brand, but also the host’s brand. This is my professionalism.”
However, Jingjing made her first life-changing move in 2011, joining game publisher Tencent as Tencent IEG interactive entertainment brand manager—responsible for all brand partnerships between the gaming industry and music and film.
“It was a hard decision for me to choose a ‘behind the scenes’ job, instead of continuing my hosting career” she said. “I knew most people were shocked by my decision, and they believed that ‘Jingjing is a successful host and I should keep doing it.’ That fact was true but also not. I thought I needed to know why esports tournaments existed, and how to bring more value to esports audiences, instead of just being a girl on stage.”
Between 2011-2017, Jingjing spent six years with China’s largest game publisher for training and studying. Sometimes, she still did a few part-time hosting gigs for Tencent events, such as the League of Legends three-year ceremony. But after joining Tencent, she slowed down her hosting career, and put more energy into thinking about what would be more valuable to the esports industry. These “behind the scenes” experiences helped her to think in a creative and entrepreneurial way.
Jingjing summarized four points which she learned from her Tencent career:
- Competitive advantage is important, and it should be defined by multiple voices and information.
- Teamwork is better than individual work.
- Good products require patience.
- Find a core path for your goal, and be confident to dive in.
In 2018, Jingjing left Tencent and started her own business, establishing an esports talent agency called Dido Studio. Here, she helped multiple young students and fans join the esports industry in a multitude of roles. The studio used be a caster management division of Chinese tournament organizer Fighting Esports Group (FEG), educating and training esports casters for competitions such as the Korean King Pro League (KRKPL). In April of 2019, Jingjing officially split off her team from FEG and rebranded to Dido Esports, focusing on esports educational programs in China.
“Still, some people don’t understand why I left Tencent to start up my own business, and even saying that my gender did not make me suitable for entrepreneurship,” Jingjing joked. “Throughout my 13 year esports career, I always wanted to add more variety and value in the industry. I thought I need knowledge and training, so I joined a big company [Tencent] for study. I left Tencent because I believe my team could create more value in the area of esports education.”
At the time of writing, Dido Esports has signed partnership deals with Chinese universities, including Zhejiang Communication University in Hangzhou, Shanghai University of Sport, and Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, to provide esports courses, lecturers, and criteria of assessment for students. It should be noted that courses have official university credits in Zhejiang Communication University. In addition, Dido Esports engaged with tournament organizers and esports teams to offer job opportunities and post-training services. For example, her former company Tencent, has become one of the main clients of her business.
“I still do some esports host jobs, recently for PUBG, Honor of Kings, and Fortnite tournaments. But I don’t mainly do it for income, I do it for my students as a good example—to show them what an esports host should look like,” Jingjing said.
Even today, people still criticize the esports industry as being male-dominated, whether that’s in regards to professional players, talent, or other professionals. Jingjing gave her opinion to The Esports Observer:
“I won’t say women have a big disadvantage compared to men in the esports industry. I can’t change this male-dominated scenario, but I know how to use it as my advantage. Actually, I always understood one of my advantages is my beauty. That’s what first attracts male esports audiences as well as brands. But as long as I actually love esports, and am willing to do more research on esports just like them [male audiences], eventually, they will like you because of your talent. Then it’s not just about your looks anymore.”
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