Lack of talent a problem but China ready to take off

Country-level competition will boost the development of e-sports in China, while lack of talent remains a major problem, according to participants at an e-sports forum in Shanghai.
Ti Gong

E-sport insiders and experts attend the 2018 Oriental Sports Forum in Shanghai.

Country-level competition will boost the development of e-sports in China, while lack of talent remains a major problem, according to participants at an e-sports forum in Shanghai.

E-sports, or electronic sports, has been included in the 2022 Asian Olympic Games to be held in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. It will be presented as an exhibition event at the 2018 Asiad in Indonesia this month.

The State General Administration of Sports issued a notice last week saying that China is organizing a national e-sports league, with the final to be held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, in December. Winners and runner-ups of the league will qualify to join the national training team.

Shanghai has been at the center of China’s e-sports thanks to the city’s encouragement of cultural and innovational industries. More than 40 percent of the country’s e-sports competitions are held in Shanghai.

“From the government side, it will provide support in the construction of e-sports venues, tax and land policies, as well as the building of an industrial ecology, including the introduction of high-level competitions and the building of domestic brands and teams,” Zeng Yuan, deputy director of Shanghai’s cultural undertakings management office, said.

Zeng was talking at the Oriental Sports Forum yesterday which invited industry insiders and experts to discuss the future development of e-sports in Shanghai and China.

“The league and the establishment of a national team will benefit all participants of the sport,” said Pan Yibin, former marketing director of online game provider Xunlei, who is now the operative manager of an e-sports club.

“First of all, the players will become athletes holding state certification, which makes it convenient for them when going abroad for competitions. Secondly, taking part in e-sports competitions will become a way to strive for honor for the country, which is helpful in the building of the young athletes’ self-value and view of life,” said Zeng. “Media and TV coverage will help society, including the players’ parents, to better understand the sport.”

According to Zhu Qinqin, deputy director of the Shanghai E-Sports Association, unified regulations and industry standards for e-sports are the needs of the hour. The association organized an e-sports referee training in April for 36 umpires.

“It took us two years to prepare for the training, including deciding teaching material and teachers,” said Zhu. “Competition organizers are the ones who make the rules instead of inviting a third party for refereeing, which has led to a lot of disputes. Also, there is no country-level association for e-sports in China, and no international organization like FIFA for football. We need to build a system.”

The development of e-sports also requires talents who know about the games while owning marketing and management skills.

The Shanghai University of Sport launched an e-sports commentary major from this year; recruiting 20 students from 270 applicants.

“E-sports has many followers with great social influence. It’s necessary for higher education to step into this area,” Du Youjun, dean of the university’s media and foreign language college, told the forum.

“E-sports majors won’t aim at cultivating gamers, but will provide professional talents for the industry,” Du added.


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