Tencent, the monolithic Chinese internet giant, have shown off a five-year plan to invest $15b into the Chinese esports market.
The plan was reported by Chinese media outfit Caixin, but hinted at in the company’s end of year financials for 2016 back in March. It’ll see Tencent supporting its own mobile title, Strike of Kings, but also setting up a variety of competitions, associations, talent development schemes and even the development and construction of a theme park themed around esports.
Tencent have predicted 220 million esports players living in China and 335 million globally by the end of this year, a massive number. If the plan comes off it would see an unprecedented investment into the already-healthy Chinese esports market, which saw total revenue soar 52% in year-on-year figures to around $7.3b in 2016.
Still, it’s too be expected. Tencent are the biggest games company in the world in terms of financial power, and own Riot Games, a controlling stake in Supercell and a chunk of Activision Blizzard too, all companies with well known and developed esports presences.
All those financial interests pile up, and they announced $21.9b in annual revenue for for 2016. The huge fountains of money they seem to be harnessing over in China are attracting western organisations too, and several big names have started eying up expansion in the area.
If Tencent go ahead and spread their wealth around in the market, China’s esports market could become an essential destination for the big endemic brands.