At 2019’s China Digital Entertainment Congress, NetEase announced plans to invest over $5 billion RMB in building an esports stadium in Shanghai. The Chinese Internet technology company and game publisher said that it will build the venue, named “NetEase Esports Park,” in the Shanghai Qingpu district.
“Shanghai has world-class location advantages in terms of incentive policies, upstream and downstream industries, infrastructure, and purchasing power and habits of local residents,” said Ding Yingfeng, the president of NetEase’s games business.
The NetEase esports venue will host facilities for game development, team growth, and user experience. The Shanghai government revealed in June that it plans to support competitive gaming. With a new standard guideline around esports set by the Shanghai government, it hopes to become the ‘esports capital’ within 3-5 years.
The criteria for esports venues includes four levels from A to D. A difference of venue level indicates whether one can host a qualification trial or international esports tournament. For example, Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, which will host the upcoming Dota 2 The International 2019 esports tournament, is considered a class-A venue. The NetEase Esports Park will also aim for the level of class-A.
Earlier this year, Tencent partnered with Shanghai’s Oriental Sports Center to make it their stadium for esports tournaments. NetEase cannot compare with Tencent in terms of its big titles. Tencent owns both the hugely popular mobile game Honor of Kings and the PC MOBA League of Legends.
However, NetEase does have distribution rights for Blizzard Entertainment’s real-time strategy game StarCraft. It also operates the Overwatch League franchise team Shanghai Dragons. Knives Out, a popular mobile battle royale game in Asia, is another popular title NetEase runs. Completion of the NetEase Esports Park seems to be set for late 2020 or early 2021. It is likely the Shanghai Dragons will use it as their home venue.
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Follower of tech startups and finance. I write about esports in my free time.