Shanghai is looking to become a major international center for e-sports and has identified it as a major growth platform for the development of the city's cultural and innovative industry.
The municipal government released 50 guidelines last week, in response to General Secretary Xi Jinping's call to boost Chinese people's cultural and creative vitality at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
While focusing on development in areas like film and television, entertainment, animation and games, internet culture, artwork trade, publishing, creative design and cultural equipment, specific targets have been set in the guidelines, in which the city leaders said that they should speed up to build Shanghai into an international e-sports center.
To that end, the investment and establishment of e-sports venues will be encouraged. Up to two venues which are able to hold world top-class e-sports games will be set up. Some smaller venues would also be built to attract wider audiences.
Though the move is aimed at attracting leading global gaming companies to the city, it would also help some local gaming brands to get more attention from players and fans. Apart from the game itself, trade, live streaming, and training of related talents should also be stressed to create a complete ecosystem, according to the guidelines.
Shanghai is already the national leader in the e-sports industry. Blockbuster games such as King of Glory, League of Legends and DOTA 2 have all organized e-sports games in Shanghai.
Li Xiaofeng, founder of Shanghai-based e-sports equipment company Taidu Intelligent Technology Corporation, said that about 80 percent of the Chinese e-sports companies, clubs and well-known players have chosen to stay in Shanghai. One of the major reasons is that most of the institutions and media which hold e-sports competitions are based in Shanghai.
"The players do not need to go between different places for any competition once they are based in Shanghai," he said.
Another major reason is better accessibility to the internet in Shanghai. Net speed and stability are the primary requirements for gamers. According to a report released by Beijing-based Broadband Development Alliance in November, Shanghai leads the country in terms of internet speed. The city has retained the No 1 position since the institution released its first report in 2013.
The flourishing gaming industry in Shanghai has also given enough room for the development of e-sports. Public information shows that there are more than 1,400 internet game companies registered in Shanghai till now. Among these companies, 16 are listed on China's A-share market, which is equal to 20 percent of the same kind all over the country. Another 25 Shanghai gaming companies have been listed on National Equities Exchange and Quotations market, which accounts for 22 percent of the total of their kind.
The municipal government has also chosen the best timing to give full play to the e-sports industry. Zhou Zhaoning, an analyst at market consultancy IDC, said that China's e-sports industry will reach its prime this year.
According to the China Gaming Industry Report jointly released by Beijing-based Game Publishing Commission and market consultancies CNG and IDC, the sales revenue of China's e-sports market surged 43.2 percent year-on-year to 36 billion yuan (.45 billion) during the first six months of this year. This amount is equal to 36 percent of the total income of China's gaming industry during the same period.