2018 was in many ways a meaningful year for RNG Esports Club. In 2018, the club not only achieved great success in multiple, global competitions, but it also excelled on the business stage too.
With the announcement from RNG club that it would establish international social media platforms, it’s evident that the org is moving forward and positioning itself very much in the global esports market. In February, we at Esports Insider were delighted to have the chance to talk to the CMO at RNG, Jieming Li, about RNG’s future overseas expansion plans.
ESI: In China, RNG’s is well known for its great fan engagement. In 2018, RNG hosted a number of events to strengthen the interaction between fans and the club, including partnerships with Chinese universities, esports training camps and various public welfare activities. RNG has also established many overseas fan departments around the world. Is being fan-centric still the most important strategy for RNG’s overseas business expansion? Moreover, can you detail a little more on the strategy and delivery of these measures?
Li: For the first question, the answer is absolutely “Yes”. In 2018, we proposed three strategies, which were: match training, fan base development, and club commercialisation. In addition, RNG not only has numerous fans in China, but also has many overseas supporters. We are trying our best to provide an intuitive and impressive esports experience for fans across the world.
For RNG, we are committed to providing numerous wonderful games for our fans as esports fans are most concerned about how good their favourite club is in each competition. In addition, we will organise more “RNG in China” offline parties in more regions and expand this kind of activity overseas. In 2019, RNG will host various overseas events like “RNG in the UK” to develop its fan base and expand its global influence. Besides the support from fans in the match, we also want to interact with fans in their daily lives. We hope fans can feel the RNG experience, and understand our club’s philosophy through the interaction.
ESI: Besides the interaction between the club and fans, RNG club also maintains strong relationships with other esports organisations. For RNG, what kind of co-operation with foreign organisations will be covered in RNG’s overseas business expansion?
Li: In 2018, we developed a multifaceted business operation and took lessons from overseas esports and traditional sports clubs. During the learning process, we improved our awareness of their commercial models and our business operation became more professional. For example, Team Liquid established an outstanding video studio to promote its club and brand, which has inspired us, and made us aware of the importance of establishing a great creative media platform that can help promote the club brand and increase our commercial value. Besides the example of Team Liquid, the experience of Cloud9 in player management has inspired us to better help develop our players’ future career.
In the future, RNG will maintain a close relationship with foreign clubs to gain more experience in club corporatisation, multiple team commercialisation and player development.
ESI: In 2018, RNG club has signed off on numerous commercial sponsorships, including deals with industry giants such as Mercedes-Benz and KFC. Can you tell us something about the future strategy and targets when it comes to international commercial sponsorships?
Li: Firstly, we have a basic principle in all our collaborations which is our partners must be the giants in their industry. We hope both sides can further promote their brands and achieve a win-win situation through these collaborations. Secondly, we are also willing to cooperate with corporates that are truly helpful in the development of the esports industry. For example, KFC has provided venues for our Chinese offline events and launched a club-branded meal which helps raise awareness of esports as a whole. Besides these two points, we are very interested in the sports industry because we consider esports as a competitive sport. In 2018, our LOL player Zihao “Uzi” Jian signed an endorsement with Nike and our DOTA2 team partnered with Chinese sports apparel brand Li-Ning.
ESI: Can you share your insights about the various differences between the esports industry in China and the Western world?
Li: In my opinion, the difference between Chinese and Western esports industry stem from the cultural differences between the two sides. In China, people may reject an emerging industry at the beginning and they spend more time to understand it. However, Western people can tolerate and accept these emerging industries, and people will not immediately dismiss the industries.
ESI: With the rapid development of the esports industry globally, the Chinese and Western esports industries will gradually merge and ‘upgrade’ into a truly global industry. Can you please share your insights about the trend of the future esports globalisation?
Li: I agree that the esports industry will develop into a true global industry. As we know, the Internet has no boundaries, and the development of esports is inseparable from the support of the Internet. Therefore, esports globalisation is an inevitable trend.
With the upgrade of transportation and telecommunication technology, esports globalization has grown from online to offline. At present, esports events in different regions are gradually being integrated as parts of international esports events, and esports is being popularised around the world through the influence of international esports events. As a practitioner in the esports industry, we are dedicated to helping, step by step, esports achieve true globalisation.
ESI: Thank you again for the interview, we wish RNG club every success in the 2019 season and beyond!