What Happened: In a bid to become the top place to buy gaming devices, JD.com has launched an eSports phone alliance with local industry partners in Hainan province. The online e-commerce giant will offer special services for gamers, including a trial service, a network guarantee, and one-hour delivery. It will also provide training for professional gamers while trying to lure new fans by working across some of China’s hottest trends: livestreaming (on platforms like Huya), Consumer-to-Manufacturer (C2M) products with a variety of brands, and brick-and-mortar experience shops.
The Jing Take: How China has embraced its eSports sector offers an intriguing insight into the diversification of its domestic conglomerates. In 2019, the government had already recognized e-sports as a profession. And now, its market is expected to top $40 billion by 2022, growing by 10 percent annually. The country’s sophisticated digital ecosystem made it ripe for an eSports explosion. All the pandemic did was accelerate interest. A recent report published by the Game Publishing Committee (GPC) of the China Audio-Video and Digital Publishing Association states that sales revenue from the Chinese game market reached $20 billion over the first six months of 2020 — a 20-percent jump from the same period last year.
Earlier this month, the General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) announced that eSports was approved to be included in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. Meanwhile, local governments are building stadiums to accommodate its growth. And as interest in the sector continues to snowball, JD.com has kept pace. This year, it launched the JD ESports plan to expand into gaming phone hardware. Also, under the JDE gaming team, it released gaming-related products with local multi-tech companies like Lenovo. Collectively, this move can be seen as part of an attempt to establish China as the gaming center of the world — one JD.com hopes to penetrate.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.