During the first month of 2021, China’s esports industry witnessed noteworthy investments and developments. Here are the top stories of the final week of January 2021: TCL Technology (TCL) became the 16th brand to sponsor League of Legends Pro League (LPL); Guangzhou Quwan Network Technology (TT Yuyin) raised $100 million in a Series B financing round; YAO foundation partnered with professional esports organizations; and Chinese esports organization Jingdong Gaming (JDG) signed three partnership deals with Intel, MSI, and Samsung, respectively.
TCL Becomes the Official Sponsor of League of Legends Pro League
Chinese multinational electronics company TCL Technology (TCL) joined other 15 brands to sponsor LPL, China’s top League of Legends competition.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Although TCL has developed business relationships with sports organizations, such as the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Rose Bowl, and show business entities including the Ellen Show and TCL Chinese Theatre, it was the company’s first foray into the esports industry.
TCL made its esports debut and became the latest official partner of the League of Legends Pro League (LPL), joining a growing army of Chinese electronics brands to utilize esports as an innovative means to promote consumer affinity and expand market penetration. Emerging brands such as Xiaomi, OnePlus, as well as veteran manufacturers such as Skyworth, Hisense, all made major investments in esports. Although they are of distinct interests with focuses on different products, esports sponsorship does provide them with the opportunity to connect with growing esports communities and bring their brands closer to a wide audience of esports fans domestically and internationally.
TT Yuyin closes $100M Series B Financing Round
Guangzhou Quwan Network Technology, the developer of TT Yuyin, announced that it raised $100 million in a Series B financing round led by current investor Matrix Partners China and a new venture capital firm, Orchid Asia. TT Yuyin provides services similar to those of Discord, an American instant messaging and digital distribution platform designed for creating communities.
TT Yuyin is heavily involved in professional esports, owning TT Esports and TTG.XQ, which currently competes in China’s top esports leagues, LPL and Honor of Kings’ King Pro League (KPL), respectively. TT Yuyin aims to leverage its esports influence to further extend its outreach to other international communities in 2021.
Just a week after VSPN’s $60 million B+ fundraising campaign, TT Yuyin raised $100 million in a Series B financing round. Both VSPN and TT Yuyin’s business model centers on providing online or offline services related to esports competitions and productions. The recent successful fundraising initiatives are a bullish sign for the Chinese esports industry. Steady growth in esports consumers has substantially accelerated the commercialization and professionalization of esports, propelling the industry to get through its nascent phase and enter a new era where esports is no longer a tabooed niche hobby but a widely accepted modern lifestyle.
YAO Foundation Teams with Multiple Chinese Esports Organizations for Charity Auctions
YAO foundation, a charitable organization founded by former Chinese NBA player Yao Ming, partnered with Alisports, Alibaba Auction, Sina Weibo, Royal Never Give-Up (RNG), LGD Gaming, WE, Edward Gaming (EDG), and OMG to initiate a philanthropic auction campaign from Feb. 1-10. The online auction campaign “Sunshine Ten-Day Auction” allows fans to make bids for autographed items, guided club tours, personalized video messages, and sessions to play with selected professional esports players. All proceeds from the event will be used to support the construction of sports infrastructures, facilitate sports participation, and promote all-round development among underprivileged children and teenagers.
The YAO Foundation has been committed to improving physical education in China, particularly in China’s rural regions. This is among the charity’s first efforts to connect traditional sports with esports for its charitable cause.
For the charities that are partnering with esports organizations, they are increasingly realizing that not only is it a positive revenue source, but it is also changing the way they work. Esports offers the opportunity for organizations that previously struggled to attract younger donors to be noticed, and even lavishly funded by a youthful demographic. YAO Foundation’s crossover with several Chinese professional esports organizations is a recent manifestation in this regard.
Other Esports Business News:
- Mengniu Dairy signed former RNG League of Legends player Jian “Uzi” Zihao as the new product ambassador. The deal is seen as a significant step for the Chinese dairy behemoth to tap into the surging esports popularity in China.
- Honor of Kings announced a strategic partnership with the Department of History, Peking University. The partnership marks Tecent’s ambition to further improve the Honor of Kings IP, and integrate Chinese culture-inspired concepts into esports, games, events, and venues.
- On Feb. 1, Chinese esports organization Jingdong Gaming (JDG) announced that it entered into business partnerships with Intel, Micro-Star International (MSI), and Samsung. The new sponsorship deals will place Intel as JDG’s first-ever chief partner, while adding MSI and Samsung to its growing list of sponsors, alongside Lenovo, SONY, DouYu, West Digital, Bull Plug, Hyper X, Bose, and Lansdom.