China unveils its first Esports Town
If there was any doubting the fact that China is set to become an esports superpower, then the news that the nation has just opened its first esports town should put those doubts to rest. The esports town was opened on 16 November and it can be found within the western city of Hangzhou.
The project will run by the Hangzhou government, and it will feature a massive esports stadium for the Chinese esports team, LGD Gaming. In addition to this, the production company, Allied Esports will be playing a key role in the development of the esports town, and it marks notable shift in how the Chinese government perceives esports.
What is in Hangzhou’s esports town?
The esports town covers 17,000 square metres in Hangzhou and it reportedly cost a staggering $280 million to build. The focal point of the esports town is the large esports venue and office that will be shared by LGD Gaming and Allied Esports. This will also be the place where LGD play their League of Legends Pro League home matches.
It’s part of a much grander plan by Hangzhou’s government to make the city an esports hub. The government have announced their intentions to construct a further 14 esports facilities in the next few years. These include an esports academy, theme park, a business centre, an intriguing esports-themed hotel, and even a hospital to help esports stars take care of those common gaming injuries.
The plan is hoped to attract over 10,000 esports professionals to the city and generate $140 million in tax revenues to offset the whopping $2.22 billion that’s expected to be spent on this ambitious project.
Why is Hangzhou getting serious about esports?
The Chinese government initially seemed to be remarkably sceptical about the competitive gaming phenomenon when it first came on the scene around a decade ago. But all of that looks to have changed as the government has started pumping money into producing a world-beating esports scene.
The western city of Hangzhou looks to be the epicentre of Chinese gaming with the recently unveiled esports town joining the likes of an official Overwatch franchise called Hangzhou Spark set to compete in the Overwatch League from February 2019.
It’s also worth noting that the city will be hosting the Asian Games in 2022. This sporting event could include esports as a medal sport for the very first time, as competitive gaming was successfully showcased as a demonstration event in this year’s Asian Games.
Alongside the billions of dollars invested in the esports town, Hangzhou’s government has also been careful to court some of the key players in the global esports scene. By allowing Allied Esports to set up their new offices in the city, it will allow the esports production company to gain an important foothold in the nation. Allied Esports have already hit the headlines for establishing the flagship Esports Arena in Las Vegas, and so this move marks a big development for competitive gaming in China.