Last week, China reported a significant milestone in the country: that the number of Chinese internet users had passed 904M, 64.2% of the total 1.4B population.  

The number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has seen a bit of a slow down in countries outside of China. But the global confirmed cases still passed 3M, and cases in the U.S surpassed have passed 1M, 800K more than the second confirmed country Spain, at the time of writing.

The pandemic situation in China continues to be positive. On April 26, the National Health Commission of China reported that the current confirmed Chinese cases are lower than 100. 

After Wuhan ended its lockdown, China’s economy started to recover as much as possible. In this period, the Chinese esports industry also gave a helping hand to the country, and showed the world another value of esports.

Among the top stories in China’s esports industry: Wuhan-based esports organization eStar Gaming helped the city sell $4.2M USD specialty products by livestreaming; Royal Never Give-Up (RNG) signed a partnership deal with China’s second-largest food delivery service, Eleme; RNG League of Legends player Jian “Uzi” Zihao partnered with online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter; and NEST signed an exclusive streaming deal with Huya. 

Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region. 

eStar Gaming Helps Wuhan Sell $4.2M in Speciality Products 

Credit: eStar Gaming

When COVID-19 was wreaking havoc in China, and especially in Wuhan, The Esports Observer shared with our readers The Esports Story of Wuhan. Wuhan went through a 76-day-long lockdown, and a huge economic recession.

To accelerate the recovery of Wuhan’s economy, livestreaming platform DouYu teamed up with esports organization eStar Gaming, and hosted a four-day online shopping event. 

During the event, all eStar Gaming players became “salesmen,” and recommended specialty products to the audience, including Wuhan special hot noodles, alcohol, duck, chicken, lobster, and vegetables. DouYu provided exclusive shopping channels.

As a result, eStar Gaming and DouYu sold 810K specialty products, with over ¥30M RMB ($4.2M) in sales volume. 

DouYu and eStar Gaming are both Wuhan-based companies. During the pandemic, DouYu donated ¥10M ($1.45M) to the Wuhan Charity Association, and Liwei Sun, the CEO of eStar Gaming donated ¥500K ($71.4K), 60K medical masks, and 10K medical gloves to Wuhan’s hospitals.

Nowadays, both esports teams and esports professional players have massive fan bases around the world. In this instance, Wuhan’s city government, an esports organization, and a livestreaming platform, all found a new value with which to define esports.

Royal Never Give-Up Partners With China’s Second Largest Food Delivery Service

Credit: Royal Never Give-Up

On April 27, Chinese esports organization Royal Never Give-Up (RNG) announced a non-endemic partnership with China’s second-largest food delivery service, Eleme. Five RNG League of Legends players, including Jian “Uzi” Zihao, were featured on Eleme’s mobile app. 

In the app, Eleme has integrated RNG with the Chinese restaurant brand Xibei, as well as RNG’s own sponsor KFC. Users who ordered those two food brands had the chance to win RNG merchandise. 

Eleme is a food delivery service brand owned by Alibaba Group and was purchased in 2018 for $9.5B. According to a report from Daxue Consulting, Eleme owns 43.9% of China’s food delivery service market, while Meituan owns 53% (Tencent is the biggest shareholder of Meituan). Esports could become the next target in the battle between these two food delivery giants.

Net-a-Porter Partners With RNG League of Legends Player Jian “Uzi” Zihao

Credit: Royal Never Give-Up

There was another partnership concerning RNG: on April 22, the organization announced a partnership between its League of Legends player Jian “Uzi” Zihao and Italian online fashion retailer Net-a-Porter. 

The partnership is to promote Net-a-Porter’s “Watches&Wonders” exhibition on the Chinese e-commerce platform T-Mall. RNG posted a commercial on its social media Weibo, featuring Zihao. The video has been watched 1.68M times.

Zihao has been recognized as one of the most influential esports players in China. In 2018, Nike collaborated with him on a campaign for LeBron James to promote the NBA star’s documentary Shut Up & Dribble

Other Esports Business News: 

Credit: NEST
  • On April 23, National Electronic Sports Tournament (NEST) announced that it signed an exclusive media rights deal with Chinese livestreaming platform Huya. During the COVID-19 pandemic, NEST has mainly focused on FIFA Online4 and Peacekeeper Elite competitions. 
  • On April 26, Chinese esports organization FunPlus Phoenix (FPX) signed a partnership deal with Shanghai Youth Volunteer (SYV). FPX will host ”team open day,” and fans charity events for members of SYV.

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