Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce site, has entered the eSports arena with a $5.5m tournament to be held through their sports subsidiary Ali Sports reportedly beginning this April.
The World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) will feature a $1.5m CS:GO tournament, the same for Dota 2, with a $400,000 StarCraft II and $300,000 Hearthstone tournament too.
The move is a result of a ‘multimillion dollar’ joint venture Alibaba signed into with Singaporean social networking giant YuuZoo yesterday to provide the organisation of such an event.
The opening phases of competition will be held this April, though tournament structures are currently unknown, with the grand finals to take place in December this year somewhere in China.
Crowd contributions are to raise the initial, already massive, base prizes for each of the played games.
Ali Sports as a sports media venture of the e-commerce giant began in September 2015, and has been picking up multiple lucrative broadcast rights since, the latest being an NFL streaming license in January this year.
The main site itself, a consumer-oriented marketplace similar to eBay and offering digital storefronts for the Chinese population, received a recent valuation at $39.44bn in totalled assets.
It is notable that the only games announced so far are predominantly played by Western teams, and other multimillion dollar tournaments in China are focused on games local players are adept in, such as CrossFire, League of Legends or WarCraft III.
China has yet to field a CS:GO team at a Major, or premier event, and has not won a major Dota 2 competition since Newbee’s victory at The International 4 in 2014.