NetEase plans to invest over RMB 5 billion (around $ 725 million) in building an e-sports park in Shanghai, according to an announcement at the 2019 China Digital Entertainment Congress (CDEC) on Saturday.

Why it matters: NetEase is doubling down on efforts to develop a complete e-sports ecosystem to rival Tencent, which has the upper hand in the sector thanks to its two professional leagues for the PC game “League of Legends” and the mobile title “Honour of Kings.”

“Shanghai has world-class location advantages in terms of incentive policies, upstream and downstream industries, infrastructure, and purchasing power and habits of local residents.”

—Ding Yingfeng, president of NetEase’s game business, at CEDC on Saturday

Details: The park will be located in Shanghai’s western Qingpu District and include what NetEase calls “China’s first large professional e-sports stadium.” The park will also host facilities for game development, team building, and talent training.

  • NetEase has officially started the planning and construction of the first stage of the facility.

Context: The Shanghai government revealed plans in June to boost support for the competitive gaming sector to make Shanghai an “e-sports capital” within three to five years.

  • The city government’s guidelines will encourage companies to invest in three to four e-sports stadiums capable of hosting top-tier tournaments.
  • In January, Tencent inked a deal with Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Center to make it the primary host stadium for its e-sport tournaments.
  • NetEase-owned e-sports team Shanghai Dragons recently made a splash in the scene by winning the championship for the Overwatch League, a pro-league for the popular first-person shooter. NetEase said that the team would return to Shanghai for local tournaments next year.

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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