New World plans to promote live watching of e-sports, with seven stadiums in China

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 5:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 7:05pm

New World Development (NWD), the Hong Kong conglomerate, has teamed up with Asia’s leading mobile e-sports brand Hero Entertainment to build a network of e-sports stadiums in its K11 malls in cities across China, aiming to offer a “game-changing” retail experience targeted squarely at millennials and young online games fans.

K11s will also host Hero Entertainment’s Hero Pro League, one of Asia’s largest mobile e-sports leagues, and other animation, comic, game and novel (ACGN) franchises, to its projects in at least nine cities: Hong Kong, Beijing, Shenzhen, Shenyang, Wuhan, Ningbo, Tianjin, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

The plan is part of a 10-year strategic alliance formed between K11 and the Beijing-based Hero Entertainment on Friday, which will see the retail brand becoming the exclusive industry partner of Hero Entertainment, the second largest mobile e-sports operator in China with over 400 million registered users.

“The booming e-sports sector is fast becoming the next big growth market, a cultural event popular among the new generation,” said Adrian Cheng, founder of K11, adding it will create a unique ecosystem that combines art, technology and commerce, while continuing its effort in innovating and promoting cross-cultural exchanges in its physical and online spaces.

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Under the agreement the nine-site network will become what is claimed to be the world’s largest network of 2D e-sports-themed spaces.

Among them, K11 Hong Kong will be made into the leading mobile gaming venue to not only offer pop-up VR experiences but also be able to host to large-scale, international e -sports competitions.

Now officially being recognised as a type of new sport by the Chinese government, e-sports, or competitive gaming, has been added as a medal event in the 2022 Asian Games.

The booming e-sports sector is fast becoming the next big growth market, a cultural event popular among the new generation
Adrian Cheng, founder of K11

Revenue from the global ­e-sports market is forecast to jump 41 per cent year on year to US$696 million this year, with China the world’s second largest market after the US, taking 15 per cent of the global market, according to gaming industry ­research service Newzoo.

Around half of the world’s 385 million e-sports viewers are aged between 21 and 35, making ­it a bridge for big brands to reach the tech-savvy demographic.

Hong Kong is also hoping to tap into the business potential of e-sports. The city’s tourism board organised its first e-sports and music festival in early August, which attracted some 50,000 gamers and K-pop fans.