China’s e-sports industry has posted revenue of 26.3 billion yuan ($3.71 billion US) this year.
E-sports popularity has been growing in recent years, and the number of players in China will hit 488 million in 2023.
The revenue consisted of 80.87% live content streaming, with event and club revenue accounting for 8.59% and 6.42% respectively.
Some of the most popular categories of e-sports gaming included: shooting games (28%), multiplayer online tactical games (15.9%) and sports-based competitive games (12.2%).
This year, the number of non-exhibition events featuring both professional and non-professional players continued to grow steadily with 127 events. Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou are the hotspots for hosting offline e-sports events. Outside of China, e-sports have expanded globally, particularly in South East Asia, with countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia seeing a spike in its popularity.
Are e-sports toppling traditional sports in China?
E-sports have gone from being a fun hobby for teenagers in China to becoming both a major cultural event and a national export. This growth could be seen at the Asian Games – a continental multi-sport event held every four years – where esports was a medal-winning sport at the 2023 event, with over twenty countries competing in seven e-sport games.
If the Asian Games is an effective barometer for popularity then e-sports were the 100m sprint of the event. Due to overwhelming demand, e-sports tickets were allocated through a lottery system – the only sport in the Games to receive a ticket lottery. With over 5 million entrants to the ticket lottery, each only held a slim 0.5% chance of getting a ticket.
As reported by the MIT review, Director of Research and Insights at Niko Partners Daniel Ahmad said:
“What’s clear is that Asia is the leading region for e-sports right now”
“Our previous studies have found that gamers in Asia are more motivated by competition, alongside completion, challenge, and community, when compared to the West.”
With China holding the largest e-sports market in the world with 35%, e-sports operate much similar to conventional sports. There are regional clubs, home and away stadiums, tournaments varying on league and skill level and even recently celebrity status being applied to star players.
Although despite this boom in popularity, the Chinese government remains on the fence with e-sports. On one hand, it praises the national pride attributed to e-sports; but on the other it is concerned for the capacity for internet addiction among the nation’s youth.
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