Tencent's five-year plan for a ¥100bn Chinese esports industry
Riot Games parent pushing for unified standards, more leagues and esports-themed industrial parks
Chinese giant Tencent intends to significantly grow the esports industry in its home market by 2022.
Caixin Global reports the firm unveiled a five-year plan during a press conference last Friday, which claims it can ensure the sector is worth 100 billion Chinese yuan.
The strategy centres around setting up more eSports leagues and tournaments, as well as associations that will help to orchestrate these. There was also talk of ways to nurture new players and construct "esports-themed industrial parks" - perhaps as the esports equivalent of Olympic parks, with multiple stadiums and training facilities.
The company expects China will become the biggest esports market in the world, with 220m players by the end of this year - accounting for 65% of the 335m global players Tencent predicts will be active by 2018.
Tencent E-Sports general manager Gao Li believes the firm has plenty of room to grow its esports revenues and detailed some of the partnerships that will help it to accomplish this. For example, a deal with Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo will see the launch of a phone customised specifically for the professional league around Tencent's multiplayer title King of Glory.
The company also claims it has the support of Chinese sports authorities and is working to "establish unified standards for the industry and platforms for professional game players."
Tencent has been well-established in the esports field since acquiring League of Legends dev Riot Games in 2015. Its other games-based investments include significant stakes in Activision, Supercell and Epic Games.
Last week, it was reported that the company attempted to acquire Angry Birds creator Rovio.