Following the yuan
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🎙️What's China's 160B-yuan esports market all about? | Following the yuan

🎙️What's China's 160B-yuan esports market all about? | Following the yuan

While esports' exposure at the Asian Games is seen as a milestone, the promising sector also faces challenges incl. training, gender equity, and China's seemingly colliding policy on gaming.

[You can also stream this episode on Spotify 👀]

I don’t play games, nor do I know anything about esports, but I know how important it is for consumer brands that strive to appeal to 660 million gamers.

From left to right: esports player Jackylove in a Dior campaign, IKEA's esports products, esports hotel

Not to mention, during the ongoing Asian Games in Hangzhou, which will conclude on Oct. 8, esports is one of the many hot topics alongside the digital torchbearer and robot dogs. So, I turned to someone who lives and breaths sports business — David Zhang.

David at Asian Games in Hangzhou. Image: courtesy

As I put it, David is the matchmaker, the one who oversees the prenup, and also the one who does couples’ counseling when things go wrong between brands and sporting events.

He has a broadcast journalism background, but chose to work in sports shortly after he graduated college (a decision wiser than mine) amid the sports market boom following the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Over the last 8 years, he’s focused on sports partnerships, and has worked with Alibaba, Lazada, Hisense, Hyundai at Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, and so on.

It's the first time esports are being included as a medal sport. Live from Asian Games. Image: courtesy

China has risen to become the largest esports market in the world, despite an intense crackdown on the gaming sector in previous years (about which David will talk more).

According to Statista, revenue in China’s esports market is projected to reach US$445.20 million in 2023. Meanwhile, domestic market research firm iResearch reported that the sector’s size shrank by 5.6% to 157.9 billion yuan (US$21.9 billion) last year. It was a downturn from 2021 due to Covid restrictions and crackdown on gaming and livestreaming, iResearch added. That makes the appearance at Asian Games even more valuable, as it revived the public image of esports.

In this ✨debut✨ episode of the podcast, we discuss:

  • The entertainment and business value of esports

  • The career path of a typical Chinese esports player

  • The ongoing conflict of China’s stringent pressure on gaming VS support on esports

  • Other challenges faced by the sector while momentum keeps rising

  • Business and investment opportunities in esports

🤝 Connect with David: Website | Instagram


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Following the yuan
Following the yuan Podcast
One deep conversation about a fast-growing sector/trend in China every month