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E-sports - China - September 2019

Covered in this report

According to GPC (Game Publishing Committee), e-sports refer to competitions among video game players, using digital devices as sports equipment.

This report will discuss e-sports, mainly focusing on official e-sports tournaments, including both amateur tournaments like the King of Glory Quanmin Tournament (王者荣耀全民赛) and professional tournaments like PUBG Asia International (绝地求生 亚洲邀请赛) and World Championship of Hearthstone (炉石传说 世界锦标赛). E-sports mainly refer to the following types of online games:

  • Shooting (including first personal and third personal, eg PUBG, CS:GO)
  • Card (eg Clash Royale)
  • MOBA (eg LOL, Honor of Kings)
  • Real-time strategy (eg Age of Empires)
  • Role-playing (eg Fantasy Westward Journey)
  • Music (eg QQ Dancer, Rhythm Master)
  • Racing
  • Traditional card and chess games (eg mahjong, go)
  • Arcade (eg fighting)
  • Asymmetric competition (eg The fifth personality)
  • Puzzle (eg Craz3 Match)
  • IO games (eg Agar.io, Slither.io)
  • Sports (eg NBA 4K)

“The flourishing of e-sports games and live game streaming has been accompanied by a rapid growth in the fan base and now game lovers want an all-round experience of this new emerging hobby. E-sports stadiums and amateur e-sports tournaments are top trends driving the market. E-sports fans and the industry also show strong interest in health and fitness to change the stereotypes attributed to gaming and e-sports. It’s time for health and fitness categories to show their concern for gamers’ health issues to attract this group.”
– Kaye Huang, Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Timing for offline events
  • Healthy e-sports
  • Need more educational activities for core audiences

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
        • Excluded
        • Executive Summary

            • The market
              • Figure 1: Market value and growth rate of e-sports market, China, 2016-18
            • Companies and brands
              • E-sports tournaments for every gamer
                • Imitating marketing strategies from the sports industry
                  • New challengers in e-sports industry: live game streaming companies
                    • The consumer
                      • From watching online to attending live events and competing in tournaments
                        • Figure 2: Penetration of watching e-sports content, June 2019
                        • Figure 3: Penetration of playing e-sports games and participating in e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                      • Top-ranked social media platforms are competitive in launching live game streaming business
                        • Figure 4: Platforms for watching e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                      • Online games and e-sport events complete each other
                        • Figure 5: E-sports tournaments watched, June 2019
                      • Heavy investment needed when marketing e-sports tournaments
                        • Figure 6: Information channels for e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                      • E-sports teams are the core of tournaments
                        • Figure 7: Motivations to watch e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                      • “We are not otaku”
                        • Figure 8: Favourite categories for crossover cooperation with e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                      • Half of surveyed consumers hold positive attitudes towards e-sports
                        • Figure 9: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a sport”, June 2019
                        • Figure 10: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a good career choice”, June 2019
                      • Playing e-sports games for relaxation
                        • Figure 11: Attitudes towards “e-sports games is more useful to relax oneself”, June 2019
                      • Both mobile and PC e-sports games will continue to grow
                        • Figure 12: Preference for mobile e-sports games vs PC e-sports games, June 2019
                      • Market for solo tournaments?
                        • Figure 13: Preference for team-work e-sports games vs individual e-sports games, June 2019
                      • What we think
                      • Issues and Insights

                        • Timing for offline events
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                              • Figure 14: Marketing image of CF themed travelling program
                            • Healthy e-sports
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                  • Figure 15: Products promoted by Three Squirrels with VG club
                                • Need more educational activities for core audiences
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                      • Fast growth with support from government
                                      • Market Size

                                        • Emerging with considerable potential
                                          • Figure 16: Market value and growth rate of e-sports market, China, 2016-18
                                      • Market Drivers

                                        • Turning point: son of real estate tycoon led investment in e-sports market
                                          • Featured at the 2018 Asian Games as a demonstration sport
                                            • Rising support from both national and local government
                                              • Figure 17: History of drivers for e-sports market, 2003-19
                                          • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                            • E-sports tournaments for every gamer
                                              • Imitating the marketing strategy of the sports industry
                                                • New challengers in e-sports industry: live game streaming companies
                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                  • Not just professional tournaments
                                                    • E-sports stadiums are popping up
                                                      • Figure 18: Images of VSPN and B5 e-sports tournaments
                                                    • Learn from the peripheral product market of the sports industry
                                                      • Figure 19: Image of LGD flagship store
                                                    • Introduce e-sports to mass market through TV channel
                                                      • Live streaming market: developing the ecosystem by setting up e-sports companies
                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Watching and participating in person
                                                          • Narrowing gender gap
                                                            • Reach young generations on forums/BBS and through the celebrity effect
                                                              • Health becomes the hot theme of e-sports
                                                                • Need more educational marketing messages for post-2000s
                                                                • Watching, Playing and Participating in E-sports

                                                                  • Trendy to watch live e-sports events
                                                                    • Figure 20: Penetration of watching e-sports content, June 2019
                                                                  • Every gamer’s dream to compete in e-sports events
                                                                    • Figure 21: Penetration of playing e-sports games and participating in e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                                                                  • Narrowing gender gap
                                                                    • Figure 22: Penetration rates of selected activities, by gender, June 2019
                                                                  • Seize the opportunities beyond tier one cities
                                                                    • Figure 23: Penetration rates of selected activities, by city tier, June 2019
                                                                • Platforms for Watching E-sports Tournaments

                                                                  • Top-ranked social media platforms have the potential to challenge live game streaming market
                                                                    • Bilibili: the leader among young consumers
                                                                      • Figure 24: Platforms for watching e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                                                                    • Female consumers are more open to new games and new e-sport events
                                                                      • Figure 25: Platforms for watching e-sports tournaments, by gender, June 2019
                                                                    • Kuaishou: the only platform not skewed to young consumers
                                                                      • Figure 26: Platforms for watching e-sports tournaments, by generation, June 2019
                                                                  • E-sports Tournaments Watched

                                                                    • Online games and e-sport events complete with each other
                                                                      • Figure 27: E-sports tournaments watched, June 2019
                                                                    • Popular games are well-received by men and women
                                                                      • Figure 28: E-sports tournaments watched, by gender, June 2019
                                                                    • Universal popularity of King of Glory
                                                                      • Figure 29: E-sports tournaments watched, by generation, June 2019
                                                                  • Information Channels of E-sports Tournaments

                                                                    • Entering the digital world of gamers
                                                                      • Figure 30: Information channels for e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                                                                    • Female consumers need more push messages
                                                                      • Figure 31: Information channels for e-sports tournaments, by gender, June 2019
                                                                    • Young generations favour communities
                                                                      • Figure 32: Information channels for e-sports tournaments, by generation, June 2019
                                                                  • Motivations to Watch E-sports Tournaments

                                                                    • Love for the game is key
                                                                      • Figure 33: Motivations to watch e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                                                                    • Female audience more susceptible to peer and family influence
                                                                      • Figure 34: Motivations to watch e-sports tournaments, by gender, June 2019
                                                                    • Strong celebrity pull among young generations
                                                                      • Figure 35: Motivations to watch e-sports tournaments, by gender, June 2019
                                                                  • Marketing in E-sports Tournaments

                                                                    • “We are not otaku”
                                                                      • Figure 36: Favourite categories for crossover cooperation with e-sports tournaments, June 2019
                                                                      • Figure 37: Image of EDG club Weibo post promoting physical sports
                                                                    • Young foodies
                                                                      • Middle-aged travellers
                                                                        • Figure 38: Favourite categories for crossover cooperation with e-sports tournaments, by generation, June 2019
                                                                    • Attitudes towards E-sports

                                                                      • Recognised as a sport but violence is an issue
                                                                        • Figure 39: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a sport”, June 2019
                                                                      • Post-2000s show ambivalent attitude towards e-sports
                                                                        • Figure 40: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a sport”, by generation, June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 41: Attitudes towards “all types of e-sports games should be recognised as sport”, by generation, June 2019
                                                                      • Parents are quite open-minded about e-sports
                                                                        • Figure 42: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a sport”, by family structure, June 2019
                                                                      • Residents in tier one cities are more cautious about designating e-sports a sport
                                                                        • Figure 43: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a sport”, by city tier, June 2019
                                                                      • Have e-sports become a good career choice?
                                                                        • Figure 44: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a good career choice”, June 2019
                                                                      • Core consumers have less faith in e-sports as a career
                                                                        • Figure 45: % of any agree of “e-sports is not a good career choice”, by selected demographics, June 2019
                                                                      • Playing e-sports games for relaxation
                                                                        • Figure 46: Attitudes towards “e-sports games is more useful to relax oneself”, June 2019
                                                                      • Both mobile and PC e-sports games will continue to grow
                                                                        • Figure 47: Preference for mobile e-sports games vs PC e-sports games, June 2019
                                                                      • Market for solo tournaments?
                                                                        • Figure 48: Preference for team-work e-sports games vs individual e-sports games, June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 49: Preference for team-work e-sports games vs individual e-sports games, by generations, June 2019
                                                                    • Meet the Mintropolitans

                                                                      • MinTs are more devoted to e-sports tournaments
                                                                        • Figure 50: Motivations to watch e-sports tournaments, by consumer classification, June 2019
                                                                      • High potential for premium sports/fitness and restaurants marketing in e-sports tournaments
                                                                        • Figure 51: Favourite categories for crossover cooperation with e-sports tournaments, by consumer classification, June 2019
                                                                      • Have concerns but still support e-sports as a sport
                                                                        • Figure 52: Attitudes towards “e-sports as a sport”, by consumer classification, June 2019
                                                                        • Figure 53: Attitudes towards “all types of e-sports games should be recognised as sport”, by consumer classification, June 2019
                                                                    • Appendix – Methodology and Abbreviations

                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                        • Abbreviations

                                                                        E-sports - China - September 2019

                                                                        £3,486.28 (Excl.Tax)