Asian Upstarts – China flew to the top

What do you think is the country with the biggest world-wide esports revenue? The US? Japan? Korea? No, not quite. China, with a staggering $37.9 billion of esports revenue in 2018 alone. This money was spent across the 619.5 million players in the country – not only is that more than half of the country’s population, there are only two places in the world (India and, of course, China itself) whose population is higher than that.


© Riot Games

As in many other places, the sheer number of gamers is split somewhat unevenly between genders – roughly 76% of the men in the country play mobile games regularly, while only 66% of women do the same. The split is a little more even on consoles with 50% and 42% each, and it’s even worse on Pc games, with 68% of men playing and only 53% of women playing.

Perhaps because of the huge amount of gamers or perhaps because of the large impact that esports are having on the Chinese economy, the government is keen to capitalise on the growth here and to support it where possible – as such, the China Internet Association plans to implement an esports Work Council. It will promote, reinforce and standardize esports in the country, in an attempt to turn it into a stable industry rather than a volatile market, as many view it now.

Many mobile games such as Arena of Valor are exceedingly popular in Asia – in general, the esports and mobile gaming scenes there are a little more mobile-focused than they are in the rest of the world. This accessibility – anyone can play them anywhere and anytime – is part of why mobile esports are so successful. Given also the difference in popular genres – in the west, shooters are popular whereas in the East, strategy and arena titles tend to do better – mobile gaming has seen a far bigger increase than it has in the rest of the world.

With mobile revenue still making up a significant portion of the gaming market, this too was significant in China’s rise to power in the esports world. Of course, the country itself heavily supports this movement too – esports has now even been approved as its own career path – the Chinese government now officially recognises several jobs within the esports world.

Similarly, the country has even built its own esports town – a place dedicated to gaming in all its glory. Located in Hangzhou, it features a massive esports stadium as well as other gaming-related points of interest. It even serves as the home-base for esports team LGD Gaming, who have set up and expanded their reach since the reveal of the esports town late last year.

Generally speaking, China as an esports giant is drawing attention – including the attention of investors from international backgrounds. For example, Nike has started sponsoring the Chinese League of Legends League, and Audi is now sponsoring a TV station conglomerate there. With more and more things like these sponsorship deals happening and esports fans gradually increasing their numbers it’s no surprise that China has a bright future when it comes to gaming.