Shanghai wants to be the world’s ‘e-sports capital’

By Tony Xu
2 min read
Shanghai's night skyline is seen from The Bund on April 13, 2019. (Image Credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)
Shanghai’s night skyline as seen from The Bund on April 13, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)

The Shanghai government on Tuesday released a set of guidelines revealing its plans to bolster the city’s competitive gaming industry, with the aim to be a global “e-sports capital” in three to five years.

This is not the first time that Shanghai expressed its ambitions in this area. A document the municipal government released in December 2017 to facilitate the development of the city’s cultural and creative industries included a loose framework for e-sports industry development.

The support from the government, however, is not likely to bring substantial changes in the short term, Liao Xuhua, an analyst at data consultancy firm Analysys, told TechNode. “The development of the e-sports industry is a long-term process and relies primarily on the effort of the industry itself,” (our translation) he said.

The city government says in the guidelines that it will increase the capacity of e-sports-related content creation and research, facilitate more media coverage for the industry, in addition to cultivating and supporting e-sports businesses.

While the guidelines offer few specifics, the city’s plans to organize more and better e-sports competitions include some detail. The Shanghai government aims to host more large tournaments and increase its support for smaller scale matches, including competitions in schools. The city is already home to a number of large e-sports tournaments and is going to hold The International 2019, the top tournament for “Dota 2,” in the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

To provide venues for these events, the guidelines also pledged to encourage businesses to invest in three to four e-sports stadiums capable of hosting tournaments of the highest level such as the League of Legends World Championship, as well as a number of small stadiums for lower-tier matches.

In a way, this has already started. Earlier this year, Tencent struck a deal with Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Center, naming it the primary host stadium for Tencent e-sport tournaments, and prompting the owner to upgrade the stadium’s internet infrastructure.

The document also included promises to improve the business environment for the sector, including setting industry standards for professional training, competition between businesses, and tournaments.

The guidelines were issued by the CPC Publicity Department of Shanghai Municipal Committee, Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture and Tourism, and the Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau.