Each month, sports digital agency Mailman rounds up the biggest industry news and insights from China’s esports scene, along with analysis on why it matters.
China’s esports industry started moving more quickly in the second half-year of this year, and last month was significant as Tencent and the Shenzhen government revealed multiple esports plans at the Tencent Global Esports Summit.
Among the top stories in July: Riot Games announced it will hold the Valorant Champions Tour Masters in Shanghai in 2024; esports will continue to be an official medal sport at the 2026 edition of the Asian Games; and the Shenzhen government unveiled a three-year benefit policy for developing esports in the Chinese city.
Shenzhen to offer financial incentives to develop esports in city
During the Tencent Global Esports Summit, Shenzhen government officials unveiled a three-year multiple-benefit policy for developing esports in the city, with a maximum allowance of ￥10m (~£1.09m). Shenzhen officials expect the policy to transform Shenzhen into an “international esports city.”
In addition, the Shenzhen government will also offer a maximum of ￥5m (~£546,000) in allowances for leading international esports organisations, tournament organisers, and media publications who plan to have Shenzhen headquarters.
Geographically, Shenzhen is a large-scale international harbour city extremely close to Hong Kong, and has multiple Chinese high-tech companies located in the city, including China’s largest game publisher Tencent. We expect to see more esports developments in Shenzhen, and hope to witness more esports companies and competitions here.
Esports to stay an official medal sport at Asian Games 2026
On July 9, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that esports would continue to become the official title of the 20th AICHI/NAGOYA Asian Games in Japan, from September 19th to October 4th 2026. Esports is being featured as an official medal sports for the first time at the upcoming 19th Hangzhou Asian Games, from September 19 to October 8 2023.
Though Japan and OCA have not confirmed which esports titles will be featured in the event, this is still a milestone for the recognition of esports in Asia. It is a vital sign that esports is still in the mainstream sports atmosphere in Asia going into the next four years.
Riot Games to host Valorant Champions Tour Masters in Shanghai
On July 28, game developer Riot Games announced that its VALORANT circuit Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) would stop in Shanghai in the summer of 2024. It should be noted that Riot Games announced this decision 16 days after VALORANT officially launched on July 12th. In addition, Counter-Strike news outlet HLTV.org also reported that Valve would hold the second Counter-Strike 2 Major in Shanghai in early December of 2024.
After Overwatch shut down its server in China after NetEase and Activision Blizzard ended their relationship, the Chinese First-Person-Shooter (FPS) PC game market has divided into VALORANT, Valve’s CS:GO (soon to be CS2), and Tencent’s CrossFire. Considering Riot Games is owned by Tencent, CrossFire and VALORANT esports will not directly compete on the surface. It is more likely that VALORANT and CS2 esports will be competing directly in Shanghai next year.