Over the past week, China’s esports industry saw a slowdown after Tencent announced multiple partnerships and upcoming plans at its annual esports global summit. Nevertheless, there were a number of new developments across China’s gaming industry worth noting this week.
On June 26, the 2021 King Pro League (KPL) Spring Split Grand Final concluded at Shanghai’s Jing’an Sports Center Stadium. At the competition, Nanjing-based esports team Hero defeated their opponent TTG in a best-of-seven game. Eventually, Hero took home 5.5 million yuan ($850,000) in prize money – the lion’s share of an 18.8 million yuan ($2.91 million) total prize pool. The event was hosted by Tencent and in conjunction with Chinese esports solutions provider VSPN.
Among the top stories across the Chinese esports industry: 43 games, including Riot Games’ League of Legends Esports Manager, received import approval from Chinese authorities; domestic production company ImbaTV announced that it will host an online Valorant competition; Ping An Bank opened a Bilibili Esports-themed branch in Shanghai; Tencent has decided to postpone the Peacekeeper Elite World Championship on July 31; and Tencent Lightspeed & Quantum Studios Group opened a gaming studio in California.
China’s National Press and Publication Administration Approves Licenses for 43 Imported Games
On June 28, officials from the National Press and Publication Administration (NPPA) announced through their official website that the regulatory body has approved 43 imported games, including Riot Games’ League of Legends Esports Manager, Ubisoft’s Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, and Marvel Entertainment’s Marvel Duel. It should be noted that the list includes 30 mobile games, six PC games, four Switch games, and the first game for PS5, Sackboy: A Big Adventure.
For esports, the LoL Esports Manager developed by Riot Games will be published and operated by Tencent for the Chinese market. This marks the second Riot Games mobile title to receive a game license in China this year, following League of Legends Wild Rift.
According to the LoL Esports Manager’s official Weibo account, the game will feature all League of Legends Pro League teams, players and on-screen talents. More details of the game were not disclosed.
ImbaTV to Host Valorant Competition: Fearless Invitational
Chinese tournament organizer and production company ImbaTV announced on Thursday that the company will host an online Valorant competition. Dubbed the Fearless Invitational, the event will take place from July 8 to 25, and will feature 16 professional teams, including China’s top esports organizations Weibo, All Gamers, Invictus Gaming (IG) and Edward Gaming (EDG). In addition, the event will be streamed on a range of platforms, including Twitch, Douyu, Huya and Bilibili.
However, ImbaTV and Chinese Valorant esports operator TJ Sports have not disclosed details regarding the level of prize money up for grabs. The most likely reason for this is that the game has not yet received game approval from the NPPA.
Developed by Riot Games, Valorant is one of the most popular FPS esports titles around the world. In May, Riot Games hosted its first Valorant international tournament – the $600,000 Valorant Stage 2 Masters in Reykjavik, Iceland, for which the grand final (Sentinels vs Fnatic) earned an average viewership of more than 800,000 people worldwide, according to data analyzed by Stream Hatchet. Nonetheless, there’s still a long road ahead for Riot Games, TJ Sports and Tencent to develop a sustainable Valorant esports ecosystem in China.
Other Esports Business News:
- On June 28, Bilibili Esports announced that they have partnered with Ping An Bank to open their first co-branded bank branch at Jinke Road, Shanghai. Bilibili Esports Youyou Chen attended the opening ceremony.
- On June 30, Chinese esports solution provider VSPN announced that the company and Tencent have decided to postpone the Peacekeeper Elite World Championship on July 31 due to the current pandemic situation outside of China. An alternative location and date is expected to be announced soon.
- On July 1, Tencent Lightspeed & Quantum Studios Group announced that it will open a new gaming studio – Uncapped Games in California. The studio will be led by David Kim, former principal game designer of Blizzard Entertainment.