Tencent reveals five-year plan to create $14.6 billion esports market in China

Tencent Holdings Limited, the parent company of League of Legends Riot Games revealed in a press conference last Friday that it plans to create a 100-billion-yuan ($14.6 billion) esports industry in China over the next five years, Caixin Global reports.

Samsung Galaxy versus SK Telecom T1 at the 2016 World Championship – Finals at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California, USA on 29 October 2016. Credit Riot Games

The plan involves setting up further esports leagues, tournaments and associations that will nurture players as well as bold plans to construct esports industrial parks (which was previously detailed in December).

The company not only owns Riot Games, the developer of huge esports title League of Legends, but purchased 84% of Finnish mobile game dev Supercell. The most notable esports title to come from Supercell is Clash Royale which will host a $1 million esports tournament this year with the finals taking place in London.

According to Caixin, Ding Dong, Director of the Information Center of the State General Admission of Sports suggested, “Chinese sports authorities will cooperate closely with Tencent over the next five years to establish unified standards for the industry and platforms for professional game players”. 

Make no mistake, these are large plans if everything detailed is believed to be true. Alisports signed a partnership with Changzhou that’s set to span ten years and if speculation is to be believed, the involvement of Tencent’s rival in the organisation of the 2017 Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games (“AIMAG”), saw League of Legends overlooked as one of the medal sports. 

Make no mistake – Tencent has a lot of money and thus $3 billion a year investment, although substantial, is not impossible. In March, Tencent revealed it made $21 billion in revenue last year. Should esports grow at the projected rate of many a research company, then so too should Tencent’s, one would assume. As it is one of the largest players in esports, should revenue grow significantly it can only benefit the company – especially following the franchising of the NA LCS and deals such as the League of Legends broadcasting deal signed with MLB Bam Tech. 

Esports Insider says: The Chinese esports market is growing and will continue to do so. There’s a lot being said about Tencent’s grand plans, so we’re excited to see what the future holds as Tencent continues to flex its proverbial muscles.