China Esports Weekly: ByteDance Acquires Game Publisher Moonton, Morris Garages Partners With Bilibili Esports
Last week, China’s esports industry saw several new partnerships and a major acquisition by Beijing-based technology giant, ByteDance. In esports competition results, Chinese esports organization EHOME won the CDA-FDC Professional Dota 2 Championship S3, taking home 200 thousand yuan ($30 thousand) prize money. In addition, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) All-Star game was hosted in Qingdao last week, where two King Pro League players Xiao “Menglei” Honghui and Peng “Fly” Yunfei appeared onstage alongside Chinese All-Star basketball players.
Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: ByteDance announced its acquisition of Moonton, valued at around $4 billion according to Reuters; automaker Morris Garages (MG) signed a partnership deal with Bilibili Esports; TCL and gaming social network Bixin signed sponsorship deals with Chinese esports organization Edward Gaming’s (EDG) League of Legends division.
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Report: TikTok Owner ByteDance Acquires Moonton for Around $4B
ByteDance announced Monday that the company’s gaming division Nuverse has acquired Shanghai-based game publisher Moonton Technology. The deal values Moonton at around $4 billion, according to a report by Reuters.
Under the arrangement, Moonton will remain an independent developer, and Jing Yuan, co-founder and CEO of Moonton will retain his position.
“Through cross-team collaboration and drawing on lessons and insights from its own rapid growth, Moonton provides the strategic support needed to accelerate Nuverse’s global gaming offerings,” ByteDance stated.
Moonton is the developer of a game called Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, the most popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game in Southeast Asia, which the firm claims surpassed one billion downloads in November 2020. The acquisition gives ByteDance its first mobile esports title and opportunities to monetize its large social media user base through other channels.
Moonton was created by former Tencent employee Zhenhua Xu, who was forced to pay Tencent 19.4 million yuan ($3 million) in 2018 as compensation for breaking a non-compete clause in his contract with his former employer. There’s definitely a sense of irony, as this new acquisition puts ByteDance’s Nuverse in direct competition with Tencent Games.
It should be noted that Mobile Legends has not been published in mainland China. Since 2017, Tencent and game publisher Riot Games have filed multiple lawsuits against Moonton for the copyright issues.
Morris Garages Sponsors Bilibili Gaming LPL Team
Morris Garages (MG), an automobile brand of SAIC Motor, has signed an exclusive partnership with Bilibili Esports, the esports division of Chinese video platform Bilibili. MG will act as Bilibili Esports’ strategic partner, as well as the exclusive automobile partner of Bilibili Gaming (BLG) and Overwatch League team Hangzhou Spark.
BLG was founded in 2017 and is owned by the Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili. In August 2020, Ping An Bank signed a strategic partnership with Bilibili Esports that included co-branding strategies, coefficient products, and services. Bilibili is also one of the sponsors of BLG, alongside Logitech G, iGame, and Gentle Monster.
Other Esports Business News:
- Chinese multinational electronics company Technology Group Corporation (TCL) and gaming social network Bixin signed sponsorship deals with domestic esports organization Edward Gaming (EDG) in the League of Legends division. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Both companies’ logos will be featured on the right shoulder of the team jerseys.
- Chinese tournament organizer Imba TV announced that the company will host its branded Dota 2 competition, Imba i-League in Shanghai, featuring a 1.2 million yuan ($185 thousand) total prize pool and eight Chinese Dota 2 teams.