Internet giant Tencent recently announced a framework agreement with east China’s Wuhu City to build an e-sports-themed industrial park in the city.
Under the deal, the parties will build an e-sports town that embraces an e-sports theme park, e-sports university, cultural and creative park, animation industrial park, creative block, tech entrepreneurial community and Tencent cloud data center.
In addition, the parties plan to hold e-sports tournaments with national influence in the town.
Although the parties have yet to reveal the specific construction time for the project, the announcement signals Tencent is continuing to double down on its gaming business. Tencent’s online game segment revenue rose 25% year on year to hit RMB 70.84 billion in 2016, representing 47% of the internet behemoth’s 2016 revenue. This makes Tencent the largest online game publisher in China, dwarfing its rival NetEase, which grossed RMB28 billion in gaming revenue last year (in Chinese). In addition, Tencent is said to plan an Honor of Kings (王者荣耀) theme park in Chengdu city, home to Tencent’s game studio group subsidiary Timi Studios Group, which is also the developer of the popular mobile gaming title.
The role-playing game has amassed 50 million daily active users since it was launched by Tencent in November 2015. The sought-after gaming title recently took in a whopping RMB 3 billion revenue every month for the firm, revealed some Tencent staff.
Tencent and Wuhu city are not alone in the e-sports town initiatives. Last month, southwest China’s Zhongxian country announced that it will inject RMB 4 billion into its e-sports industrial park spanning 3 square kilometers in the next three years.
For local governments, the creation of the e-sports park can drive the development of their cultural and tourism industry, and boost the local revenue.
According to market research firm IResearch, China’s e-sports users numbered 117 million in 2016, with the market size reaching RMB 40 billion. And the market is expected to further grow in the next few years. This lucrative market is set to attract more capital to enter the sector.