Shanghai dominates China's eSports business

Li Qian
Shanghai is home to more than 80 percent of China's eSports clubs, with Jing'An District boasting a comprehensive industrial chain.
Li Qian

Shanghai has retained its supremacy in China's eSports business, despite increasing competition from other Chinese cities.

According to a recent analysis by CNG, a market research firm, the eastern metropolis stands to earn approximately 26.89 billion yuan (approximately US$3.68 billion) from the eSports industry by the end of this year.

Notably, eSports tournaments are expected to account for 45.9 percent of the country's overall income.

Shanghai is home to more than 80 percent of China's eSports clubs, companies, livestreaming platforms, and other industrial participants, earning it the title of China's eSports engine. In addition, it has established itself in the worldwide eSports environment.

On a list of eSports cities compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai ranks first in Asia and second in the world, behind only Los Angeles.

The downtown Jing'an District, known as the cradle of Shanghai's eSports sector, has been geared to assist the city in maintaining its dominant position.

Zhu Qinqin, secretary-general of the Shanghai eSports Association, stated that different districts in Shanghai are vying for more industrial players.

"Jing'an, however, is an unusual instance of a comprehensive industrial chain. Even globally, only a few locations have such a comprehensive eSports industrial chain," he said, adding that other districts tend to concentrate on a certain segment of the industrial chain. "Pudong has many great venues, so it has the advantage for holding games."

Jing'an's expanding billion-dollar sector is centered in the Daning neighborhood, namely on Lingshi Road, a short roadway that feeds into the traffic artery of Gonghexin Road.

About 20 years ago, when the neighborhood began to transition from smokestack industries to a contemporary city, young eSports players found abandoned manufacturing buildings ideal for pursuing their dreams.

Gradually, an industrial chain began to grow around the region. Currently, there are almost 100 eSports companies. They include EDG, Panda TV and VSPN.

"Jing'an has earned the first-mover advantage, but it must strengthen its services to preserve its appeal to industrial players," said Zhu.

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