Top 5 Chinese professional gaming and e-sports teams
The global e-sports professional gaming market generated US$194 million in revenue last year, and is expected to grow to more than US$465 million by 2017, according to market research firm Newzoo.
There are an estimated 408 million online gamers in China, spending a combined 114 billion yuan (US$17.6 billion), according to local media. Around 56 per cent of them currently watch e-sports competitions.
The number of professional e-sports teams has ballooned in recent years as big sponsorship money entered the Chinese market. SCMP staff reporters have sifted through the ranks of the professional gaming circuit to find some of the most promising teams. Their inclusion is based on popularity, and the number of championships and cash prizes they have won.
In 2011, Wang Sicong, son of Wang Jianlin, one of the richest men in China, bought the team formerly known as Catastrophic Cruel Memory (CCM) for about US$6 million, in order to promote and ameliorate professional e-sports in China. The club is also enjoys corporate sponsorship from Logitech, a computer accessories maker, and ASUS, a PC vendor. iG has teams playing Defence of the Ancients 2, League of Legends, Crossfire, and StarCraft II.
With DotA and Hearthstone teams in operation, NewBee was established in early 2014. NewBee won The International 2014, a Dota 2 championship tournament, which took place at the KeyArena Centre in Seattle, Washington, taking US$5,028,308 in prize money, a world record for most prize money won in a video game competition.
EDG was founded in 2013 with the aim of becoming a premier e-sport organisation in China. It swept through the League of Legends ranks in their debut year and has produced several Chinese Regional Champions. The club’s members are increasingly becoming popular figures among Chinese youngsters. Earlier this year, the Chinese film giant Huayi Brothers even signed them as artists for various fashion events.
LGD is one of the oldest, most popular and successful e-sports organisations in China. It was the first Chinese club to have signed an international team. LGD maintains the record for shortest average game length in their wins in League of Legends, at about 32 minutes.
World Elite Gaming
WE was set up in 2005. The club’s core member Li Xiaofeng is one of the most decorated WarCraft players in the world. Li represented China national team in many e-sports tournaments. Li also won the 2005 and 2006 WCG championships, the most prestigious e-sports competition, and has been entered into the WCG hall of fame.