China generated $10.6bn in ‘esports revenue’ in first half of 2023, report finds

Shenzhen city china skyline
Shenzhen, a major city in southeastern China. Image via: Shutterstock

A report detailing China’s esports industry development in the first half of 2023 was unveiled at the 2023 Global E-sports Conference in Shanghai, China.

The report claimed that China’s domestic esports industry generated revenues of 75.99bn yuan (~£8.31bn, $10.6bn) in the first six months of 2023 (January to June).

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The conference, which took place on July 28th, was organised by the China Audiovisual and Digital Publishing Association and the Shanghai Press and Publication Bureau. It focused on the globalisation of esports and the development of the esports industry from an international perspective, according to a release on the official Jing’an regional government website.

The Conference was attended by a range of government officials and Chinese esports industry stakeholders, including Riot Games, NetEase, Perfect World, esports association representatives, the UAE Commercial Counselor in China and more.

According to coverage by China Daily, a Chinese-government owned newspaper, esports ‘product sales’ accounted for 84.84% of the industry’s revenue for the six-month period, followed by ‘esports live streaming and games’. China Daily also said the report found China had 487m esports users.

The revenue figure notably includes ‘product sales’ for esports games. The definition for product sales is not disclosed, however this likely includes income adjacent to esports revenue, such as video game unit sales and microtransactions.

The Esports Advocate reported at the beginning of the year that China generated $21bn (~£16.4bn) in esports revenue for 2022, made up of 81.52% game sales.

Many other industry revenue reports do not include video game revenue of esports games in their esports revenue estimates due to the fact that much of that revenue is not being driven directly by esports.

In its 2022 global esports industry report, market research firm Newzoo estimated that global industry revenues would reach $1.38bn (~£1.08bn) by the end of 2022. Market research firm Niko Partners later valued China’s esports industry revenue at $445m (~£353m) for 2022.

Separately at the conference, the China Esports Industry Research Institute — a state-level institute launched in April this year — signed a memorandum of understanding with the Brazilian National Esports Association and the Pan-American Esports Federation, according to the Jing’an release.

Riot Games’ recent announcement that it would host a VALORANT Masters event in Shanghai in 2024 was also made at the conference. Riot Games’ FPS title VALORANT officially launched in China on July 12th to domestic success.

The Esports Advocate reported in July that the Shenzhen government was offering financial incentives to attract esports teams, events and media to the city, including up to $1.1m in allowances for companies that bring ‘large-scale’ international esports competitions to Shenzhen.

Jake Nordland
Jake is Esports Insider's Features and Trending News Editor. Part of the ESI team since early 2021, he's interested in politics, education and sustainability in esports.