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The Next Big Thing

Son of China's richest man to launch Panda TV e-sports streaming service to rival Amazon's Twitch

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 7:01am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 September, 2015, 7:01am

The son of China's richest man is setting up an e-sports streaming service that will go head-to-head with Amazon's Twitch.tv, it was revealed this week.

Wang Sicong, whose father is Dalian Wanda Group chairman Wang Jianlin, said on microblogging service Weibo that he will be chief executive of Panda TV, an online entertainment company focused on broadcasting live e-sports events.

According to QQ Tech, a number of core members of popular professional e-sports teams, both overseas and Chinese, will join Panda TV as anchors and hosts.

READ MORE: Hong Kong's first all-female e-sports gaming team aim to smash stereotypes

There are an estimated 408 million online gamers in China, spending a combined 114 billion yuan (US$17.6 billion) annually, according to local media. Around 56 per cent watch e-sports competitions.

The global professional e-sports market generated US$194 million in revenue last year, and is expected to grow to more than US$465 million by 2017, according to research firm Newzoo.

US e-commerce giant Amazon bought streaming service Twitch.tv for US$940 million in September 2014. As of January this year, the service had more than 1.5 million broadcasters attracting 100 million viewers each month.

Wang Sicong, chairman of private investment firm Prometheus Capital, is an outspoken and popular social media celebrity in China. His real estate mogul father has an estimated worth of around US$13 billion.

The younger Wang attracted attention earlier this year when he bought two gold Apple Watches for his dog – a Siberian husky called Wang Bichi with 700,000 Weibo followers of her own – and shared photos on social media.

READ MORE: Top 5 Chinese professional gaming and e-sports teams

That came after Wang was criticised in state media for his "obsession" with money, sex and violence after he said in an interview that the number one criteria for him in choosing a girlfriend was the size of her chest.

In 2011, Wang bought the pro-gaming team formerly known as Catastrophic Cruel Memory (CCM), now Invictus Gaming (iG), for about US$6 million in order to promote e-sports in China.

The club is sponsored by computer accessories maker Logitech and PC vendor Asus. iG has teams competing in Defence of the Ancients (DotA) 2, League of Legends, Crossfire and StarCraft II.