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Last week, the esports industry in China saw success in international competitions due to not only League of Legends Pro League (LPL) team FunPlus Phoenix going through the League of Legends World Championship grand final in Paris, but also Chinese player Li “VKLiooon” Xiaomeng winning the Hearthstone Grand Masters Global Finals in BlizzCon 2019 and becoming the first female world champion in Hearthstone competitive history.
Among the top stories: Chinese tournament organizer Alisports released a clarification about the recent allegations that its World Electronic Sports Games event had not paid Windigo Gaming $500K USD in prize money; Tencent set up an Honor of Kings professional development league called the KPL G-League (KGL); betting company Yi Dingbo sponsored Dota 2 organization Team Aster; KX Esports acquired the PUBG roster of JTG Esports; and Gen.G Esports announced that it will disband its Clash Royale Chinese squad.
Every week The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports business news in China including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships, and other major news from the region.
Alisports Addresses Accusations About Windigo’s WESG $500K Prize Money
On Nov. 1, Chinese tournament organizer Alisports released an announcement about the recent allegations that World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) had not paid $500K in prize money to Ukrainian esports organization Windigo Gaming, clarifying that the allegation was a misunderstanding.
Earlier in the day, Maksym Bednarskyi, CEO of Windigo Gaming, posted on Reddit that the organization disbanded its CS:GO team, stating that part of the reason was WESG not paying up:
“We still didn’t get [the] prize money from WESG, and they didn’t reply; Alibaba representatives didn’t reply as well. Without such big cashflow money ($500K) we just can’t pay parts of prizes to players who are already part of organizations.”
According to WESG’s announcement, the overseas remittances between China and multiple western countries are complicated, and the company has completed over 95% of prize money payment.
“In Windigo case, it was very unfortunate that the prize money payment from WESG got sent back from the bank multiple times,” Alisports clarified in a statement. “Windigo as a European esports organization, the company register information, receiving bank and intermediary bank are in multiple countries and continents. Those lead to many barriers for the bank to deal with [a] large number of overseas remittances. ”
In addition, WESG said it will cooperate with Windigo and try to find more ways to make sure the players can get their own prize money. At the time of writing, there are still seven prize money transmissions that have not yet been completed.
Tencent Sets Up Development League for Honor of Kings Inspired by NBA G-League
On Oct. 29, game publisher Tencent launched the development league for its mobile esports title Honor of Kings, the KPL G-League, featuring 15 esports teams from King Pro League (KPL) and seven esports teams from Korea King Pro League (KRKPL). KPL is the mainland China region of the Honor of Kings professional esports tournament and KRKPL is the region for international teams.
According to the announcement, the KGL 2019 season started Oct. 29 and runs until Dec. 8. At the end of the season, the top 80 players will enter the draft system of KPL. In addition, the bench players of KPL and KRKPL can also temporarily take part in KGL.
Huang Cheng, general secretary of KPL Union, told Chinese media outlet Ppsport that the Union planned to launch KGL at the end of 2017 and was inspired by NBA G-League. The goal of KGL is to give young players a path from half professional to pure professional. In addition, he said the Union is looking for non-KPL or non-KRKPL teams to attend KGL.
“We want the team number can achieve 30 or even more,” said Huang.
Gen.G Esports Disbands Chinese Clash Royale Squad, Leaves CRL China Region
On Nov. 4, Korean esports organization Gen.G Esports announced it has disbanded its Chinese Clash Royale squad and will no longer participate in the Clash Royale League (CRL) China region. In addition, Gen.G stated that it will release more details of the new business plan for the Chinese market in the next couple of months.
On Sept. 27, Gen.G announced that it will establish a Shanghai-based team in the NBA 2K League. But the plan might potentially be affected by the NBA defending comments made by Houston Rockets GM on Twitter about the political situation in Hong Kong. This caused some major NBA partners in China to back away from doing business with the league and supporting related products.
Other Esports Business News:
- On Nov. 1, Chinese Dota 2 esports organization Team Aster signed a sponsorship deal with South East Asian betting website Yi Dingbo. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- On Nov. 4, Chinese esports organization KX Esports announced that the company has acquired the PUBG rosters and a PUBG Champions League (PCL) franchise spot from JTG Esports. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- On Nov. 4, the retired Royal Never Give-Up (RNG) League of Legends player Liu “mlxg” Shiyu and fast-food brand Zihai Pot posted a commercial on Chinese social media featuring Shiyu cooking his own branded hot pot. At the time of writing, the commercial has been viewed 1.44M times.
Esports Rising – Nov. 14 | Who Is Attending?
Esports organizations in the likes of Team Liquid, 100 Thieves, Gen G. Game developers, including Riot Games and Blizzard. Non-endemic sponsors such as adidas, Anheuser-Busch InBev, and Jack in the Box and more. Sponsored by Lagardère Sports, and presented by Sports Business Journal / Daily, with support of The Esports Observer.